£1.5m cost of shoplifting in Calderdale

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Shoplifting in Calderdale is estimated to be costing retailers a staggering £1.5m every year.

Calderdale retailers have been struck by shoplifters 760 times since 2012, according to figures from West Yorkshire Police.

Shops in Halifax have had items including vacuum cleaners, a trampoline and an acoustic guitar stolen over the last three years.

Other items stolen include a charity box, household plants, hand tools, a mountain bike, an umbrella and garden furniture.

A charity box was taken from King Cross Pharmacy earlier this year, while a vacuum cleaner and a coffee maker were taken from Sainsbury’s last year.

A mountain bike was stolen from Cycle Gear last year and an acoustic guitar, computer games and accessories were taken from a Cash Converters in 2012.

A recent case at Calderdale Magistrates Court saw an offender charged with stealing 19 Ambi Pur air fresheners and a bottle of stain remover from the Home Bargains store at Crossley Retail Park.

Police dealt with 225 cases of shoplifting in 2012, but the figure almost doubled last year to 426, while so far there have been 109 cases recorded.

The most targeted retailer was Tesco, which was struck 93 times, with ASDA hit 68 times and Sainsbury’s 50 times.

Steven Leigh, from the Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Theft and fraud is a significant problem for retail businesses, and estimated total losses last year according to the British Retail Consortium amounted to £1.6bn, of which over £500m was due to shoplifting.

“This could mean that shoplifting might be costing businesses in Calderdale up to £1.5m every year.

“Every consumer loses in this situation because those losses have to be incorporated in the price somewhere.

“Sadly, there has been a surge in food thefts - perhaps reflecting the economic difficulties faced by many people struggling to make ends meet.”

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Minton of Calderdale CID, said: “Shoplifting is no different to any other type of theft.

“Shoplifters are thieves and the people who buy the goods they steal are handling stolen goods. Both of these offences are punishable by the criminal justice system.

“Ignorance is no excuse in the law - if you are caught with stolen goods then you will be arrested.

“People who buy items from car boot sales, in the pub or at the front door when the price seems too good to be true need to think twice.

“If a deal is too good to be true then it almost certainly is.”