The Co-op has said that across their stores shoplifting and “brazen violent theft” has increased by over a third over the past year.
The retailer said that in the first six months of 2023 there was more than 175,000 incidents which is almost 1,000 daily.
The retailer warned that it is “out of control crime” and one London store was “looted” three times in one day.
Matt Hood, Co-op Food managing director, said, “We know retail crime is driven by repeat and prolific offenders and, organised criminal gangs.
“It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and in the worst instances can even be described as ‘looting’.
“I have seen some horrific incidents of brazen and violent theft in our stores, where my store colleagues feel scared and threatened.
“I see first-hand how this criminal behaviour also erodes the very fabric of our communities – it’s hard to over-emphasise how important urgent change is.
“Co-op has invested significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe, but we need the police to play their part.
“Too often, forces fail to respond to desperate calls by our store teams, and criminals are operating in communities without any fear of consequences.”
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive, James Lowman, said, “Our members are at the sharp end, seeing crime in their communities get steadily worse.
“Shop theft is rising because repeat offenders and organised criminals are targeting local shops to steal goods to resell.
“This organised criminal activity exploits vulnerable people by getting them to steal to order in exchange for their next fix, funds the illegal drug trade, and harms businesses that provide essential services to communities.
“The police have to face up to theft, violence and anti-social behaviour in and around local shops.
“Cracking down on the criminals who account for the majority of this crime against our members would be the most effective way to make our communities safer.”