Shoplifting at its peak before Christmas

Retailers are being advised to step up security as the peak season for shoplifting approaches.

According to the Centre for Retail Research, thieves

stole £447 million of goods from stores in the six weeks from mid-November last year, with drinks

high on

their wish lists.

Opinion is divided about whether the worsening economy will

lead to a surge in shoplifting, but police in some areas have warned retailers to be on their guard.

A report by Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the CCR, said that shoplifters favoured "Scotch whisky, Jack Daniel's, vodka and brandy, along with party drinks such as alcopops, Bacardi and gin".

It adds that almost 59% of shoplifters are male.

The Association of Convenience Stores urged shops to keep records of stock and do regular stock checks ,

try to keep stock away from doors

and, where practical, put goods where it would need a "noticeable action" to take them.

It also recommends keeping high-value items in display cases or behind the tills, installing good quality CCTV and forming a relationship with neighbourhood policing teams.