Recession Sees Rise In 'Middle-Class Shoplifting'

Quality cuts of meat and high-priced cheeses amongst items taken in effort to maintain high standard of living

Definitely A Bistro and Maybe A Black and Blue Two new restaurants arrive at once to Turnham Green Terrace

Grow Local, Buy Local, Eat Local - Chiswick's Sarah Cruz on her 'rather good idea' of a glut trading scheme

Sign up for a free weekly newsletter from Directory

Waitrose be warned, Mortimer and Bennett beware and Mackens lock up your meat because middle-class shoppers hit by the recession are taking to shoplifting expensive food in an effort to maintain their high standard of living, according to a new survey.

Quality cuts of meat, fresh fish and high-priced cheeses are being taken by mostly middle-class women from speciality food and convenience shops, where thefts have risen sharply in the past year.

The findings are the result of survey of more than 42,000 shops carried out on behalf of retail security specialists Checkpoint Systems.

The survey found that shoplifting in Britain has increased in the past year by nearly 20 per cent placing Britain at the top of Europe’s shoplifting table.

Clothing and fashion accessory shops have been the hardest hit, with branded designer goods high on thieves’ shopping lists, closely followed by DIY stores.

Neil Matthews, vice president of Checkpoint Systems NCE, said: "We are seeing more instances of amateur thieves stealing goods for their own personal use rather than to sell on than before.

"This is epitomised in the recent uprising of the middle class shoplifter, someone who has turned to theft to sustain their standard of living, and this is driving theft of items such as cosmetics, perfumes and face creams, alcohol, fresh meat, mobile phones, computer games and DVDs as well as small electrical goods like cameras, iPods and personal care gadgets."

He added that the £4.88bn lost to shoplifters was "the equivalent of criminals taxing every UK household £227 per year."

November 11, 2009