Sheffield shopkeepers calls for shoplifters to be 'publicly shamed in street'

Sajjad Ahmed Chaudhry.
Sajjad Ahmed Chaudhry.

A newsagent who has been the victim of shoplifting about 100 times is calling for thieves caught red-handed to be publicly shamed in the street.

Sajjad Ahmed Chaudhry has been a repeated victim of thieving for two decades at his National News shop in Sharrow and is so fed up that he believes those caught should be made to do community service - while wearing clothing identifying them as shoplifters.

Sajjad Ahmed Chaudhry.

Sajjad Ahmed Chaudhry.

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His call for action comes as The Star can exclusively reveal today that shoplifters struck more than 35, 000 times at stores across South Yorkshire in the last three years, leaving shopkeepers hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The 47-year-old, who in January bravely wrestled a gun from armed robbers during an attempted raid, said: "It is a major problem for many.

"When they get community service you should know what they have done, it should be written on them.

"It would shame them and they might not do it again then. They get off too lightly these days."

Temporary detective chief inspector Delphine Waring.

Temporary detective chief inspector Delphine Waring.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed there were 35, 063 shoplifting incidents in South Yorkshire between 2015 and 2017.

This included 12, 347 last year - slightly up on the previous two years, with 10, 835 in 2015 and 11, 881 in 2016.

Sheffield had the highest number of incidents with 4870, followed by Doncaster with 3650. There were 1939 in Barnsley and 1882 in Rotherham.

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A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said that while it is difficult to put a total figure on cost to shopkeepers it is likely to be in the 'hundreds of thousands of pounds'.

Kevin Donnelly, South and East Yorkshire area leader for the FSB, said: "Currently, crime against small business is often not prioritised by law enforcement and consequently is not as speedily and effectively dealt with as small businesses would like it to be.

"We have found that too often small firms do not report crimes against their business. When we ask why, the most common response is that it would not achieve anything.”

South Yorkshire Police said the force has launched a number of initiatives aimed at tackling business crime.

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Temporary detective chief inspector Delphine Waring, force lead for business crime, said: “Officers and police community support officers across the county make every effort to visit businesses in their local area to offer crime prevention advice and follow up on any concerns they may have.

“Throughout April, all of our PCSOs will also be receiving crime reduction training, which includes inputs on business and cyber-crime."