Crime is on the rise in Derbyshire for the first time in ten years with shoplifting – especially the theft of food – showing the biggest increase.
Derbyshire’s police and crime commissioner Alan Charles put part of the rise down to “poverty crime” and also blamed recent Government cuts to welfare benefits.
He said: “I believe that the rise in some types of crime in areas such as shoplifting and other acquisitive crimes is ‘poverty crime’, caused by the increasing hardship faced by some families which is driving otherwise law abiding people to crime.
“This is not the right option and I would in no way condone it, but it is understandable and it is a sad reflection on the general economy in some areas of the county.”
Shoplifting and non-domestic burglaries rose by 17 per cent and 19 per cent respectively from last April to this March.
Thefts from major retailers accounted for the majority of shoplifting crimes - with large supermarkets being the main victims.
Derbyshire’s chief constable Mick Creedon said: “Most of these thefts involve relatively small amounts of food or other goods with the majority being under £30 in value. Eighteen per cent of all shoplifting includes the theft of alcohol.”
In total 6,000 offences of shoplifting were recorded. Latest figures reveal that crime across the county was up by two per cent compared with the same period last year.