What’s Mine is Yours

The rate of property crimes in this country would shock most Americans. Now incidents of shoplifting are increasing even more.

Since 2004, shoplifters have not had to worry about getting a criminal record. A theft of goods worth less than £200 results instead in an on-the-spot penalty notice. It’s like a traffic ticket. Just pay the fine in time and it’s all done.

Shoplifters took £2 billion worth of goods in 2006.

British Retail Consortium spokesman Richard Dodd told the BBC, “At government level sentencing is so weak that people are just not put off stealing from shops. A lot of these are people who are repeatedly stealing in order to fund a drug habit and they believe, unfortunately rightly, that there will be no serious sanction on them if they are caught.”

Earlier this month Lord Falconer, the head of the judiciary in this country, called for further reduction in the sentences for property crimes.

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