Employee thefts costs UK 1.5bn

Employee theft cost UK retailers 1.5bn last year, the highest figure for any European nation bar Iceland, research reveals.

A study of 423 retailers across 25 countries, by the Centre for Retail Research, showed that most firms were planning to step up the fight against internal crime, including more vetting of staff as well as bonuses and incentives to try to head off any threat of theft.

The survey found that for UK retailers, 29% of ‘shrinkage’ – losses from theft, damage and error – was due to staff stealing, up from 28% in 2003.

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

The British Retail Consortium said that while most shop employees were entirely honest, the numbers could be explained by a small number of dishonest staff.

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