Thefts by staff costs UK retailers £1.5bn

British retailers are suffering from thefts by staff which is costing employers £1.5bn last year, a report has found.

The Centre for Retail Research said the UK was one of the worst countries in Europe for stealing by employees. The UK was second behind Iceland in a study of employee theft in 25 nations.

The study of 440 retailers showed most were planning to get tough with internal crime, including more vetting of staff as well as bonuses and incentives to try to head off any threat of theft.

Losses due to theft form part of what is known in the retail jargon as ‘shrinkage’. The survey found that 29% of shrinkage could be attributed to staff stealing from their employers, up from 28% in 2003.

Despite this, Nick James, crime policy officer of the British Retail Consortium, said most employees were entirely honest. “It is due to a very small number of dishonest staff who may be stealing for extended periods of time and that may be very hard to detect,” he told the BBC.

Items most likely to be stolen from UK retailers include designer and leather goods, perfumes, trainers, CDs, jewellery, videos, disposable razors and vitamins.

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