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Stores clawing back costs from thieves.

Byline: Greg Truscott

THIEVES are funding a growing crime prevention programme in South Wales.

Shoplifters who steal from stores across the region are now increasingly likely to be fined by retailers in addition to finding themselves before criminal courts as more retailers sign up to a national initiative that enables them to claw back the costs of their own crime prevention.

The National Retail Civil Protection Programme - subscribed to by stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury, and Asda - enables stores to fine people caught stealing in their outlets for costs, including the value of the items, staff time in investigating and apprehending a thief, and security costs, related to the crime.

The fines are enforceable in civil courts.

In the UK, only seven per cent of the 820,000 shop thieves apprehended each year are required to appear in a criminal court.

The remaining 93 per cent are given warnings or police cautions.

The civil recovery programme - managed by Retail Loss Prevention Ltd - brings major retailers together so that thieves caught in their stores fund some of the spiralling costs of store security. It also acts as an added deterrent to those who might be tempted to take goods without paying.

The programme - piloted in Nottingham and developed over the last few year - is now becoming more and more commonplace in stores throughout South Wales as further retailers enrol.

Debenhams and Woolworths have recently signed up to the initiative - and DIY giant B&Q, which has piloted the programme in the north, now plans to roll it out to their stores in South Wales and the rest of the UK.

The scheme is the brainchild of Professor Joshua Bamfield - managing director of Retail Loss Prevention Ltd.

He said: "There are a lot of national retailers who have outlets in South Wales who have been with the scheme for some time, such as Boots, who are reporting successful results.

"Debenhams and Woolworths have recently joined and B&Q is about to roll out the scheme nationwide."

CAPTION(S):

NEW SCHEME City stores such as Tesco, above, are subscribing to a programme which allows them - as well as the courts - to fine shoplifters who steal from their businesses.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:365
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