SHOPLIFTING in Rotherham has doubled this summer compared to the same period last year - with some culprits telling police they cannot afford to buy food.
There were 342 offences in the town between this April and June, a rise from 223, against a backdrop of other crime falling.
Common items stolen include meat, cheeses, alcohol and toiletries as well as electricals and clothing.
Chf Supt Jason Harwin told The Star: “We’ve seen a significant increase in the last four months compared to last year.
“What we’re starting to see is that the individuals committing these crimes range from people doing it to fund other crime but also on occasion that people are doing it to feed themselves.
“Some have said they’ve got no money to buy food so they are pinching it.”
Police are working with all stores - from international chains to independent outlets - to crack down on the problem with cameras, shop layouts and other preventative measures like banning offenders.
They are also appealing for vital support from the public to identify shoplifters and give them information, while known crimimals will be targeted, and CCTV images of offenders published online or in the media.
Chf Supt Harwin said: “Shoplifting is not acceptable.
“While people may believe it is a victimless crime it impacts on everybody, whether that be prices having to go up or, smaller shops which have a lot of offending facing closure with people losing their jobs.”
Call 101 with information.