The charity Crisis Counselling for Alleged Shoplifters has blamed the rise in theft from shops by young girls on our “affluent, too much too soon” society.

According to the charity’s head Harry Kauffer “They only want the well-known brands. When money gets tighter they still want the same things, and if they can’t get them one way they’ll get them another”.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph shoplifting costs shops and stores a total of £1.5 billion a year with £500 million worth expected to walk off shelves in the six week lead-up to Christmas this year. In the six years up to 2006 the crime rose by 70%, and a survey by G45 Security Services calculated that 700,000 people a year shoplift in Britain, two thirds of them male.

The most persistent shoplifters are drug users but organised gangs are also a major contributor, along with an increasing number of 12-20 year old girls involved.

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