Primark workers are being given bodycams for protection following a dramatic surge in shoplifting that is being fuelled by social media

A string of retail bosses have warned of the trend and demanded more action from police and prosecutors.  

Primark CEO George Weston said it was time for the shoplifting crisis to be taken ‘more seriously’.  

He said Primark had experienced rising cases of both shoplifting and attacks on its employees.

‘We are having more of our clothes stolen than ever before, this is increasing,’ he said. 

‘There has been an increase in anti-social behaviour, including assaults on shop staff.’

Primark is among the stores being targeted by shoplifters. One TikTok user wrote a list of stores that they have stolen from

Primark is among the stores being targeted by shoplifters. One TikTok user wrote a list of stores that they have stolen from 

Primark is among the stores to be issuing more body cameras to staff as well as increasing the use of CCTV in branches

Primark is among the stores to be issuing more body cameras to staff as well as increasing the use of CCTV in branches

Shoppers leave a branch of the fast fashion chain in Birmingham

Shoppers leave a branch of the fast fashion chain in Birmingham 

The high street fast-fashion chain is among the stores to be issuing more body cameras to staff as well as increasing the use of CCTV in branches.

But Mr Weston, chief executive of Primark’s owner, Associated British Foods, said law enforcement agencies also needed to take tougher action against the offenders.

He said: ‘We need chief constables to recognise the problem this now represents. We need the Crown Prosecution Service to take theft and assault more seriously.

‘We need the Crown Prosecution Service to take theft and assault more seriously.

‘We need magistrates to deal with thieves and violent offenders perhaps more sternly than they have been doing in the past. We will play our part but we need authorities to as well.’

Eoin Tonge, chief financial officer of ABF, said there had been an astonishing rise in the ‘glorification of nicking on social media’. 

He said that users were posting ‘just nicked this from Primark’ to their mates for ‘likes’. 

‘I think the cost of living crisis has given some people a societal excuse that they can just go out and nick what they want,’ Mr Tonge told The Sun

‘It’s depressing, particularly for our staff.’

John Lewis chairman Dame Sharon White has warned that thefts from shops have become an ‘epidemic’. 

She said earlier this week: ‘High streets have long represented the spirit – the centre – of local communities. Yet they risk becoming a looting ground for emboldened shoplifters and organised gangs.’

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, she lamented that some areas were now ‘shells of their former selves’ due to violence.

Dame Sharon said: ‘When I think about our shop workers, who were lauded as national heroes during the pandemic, it’s not right that they’re having to put up with abuse and attacks.

‘Incidents haven’t always been responded to by the police, and sometimes those incidents have got some violent aspects.’

In other posts, the TikToker shared photos of cosmetic products they had stolen from stores

In other posts, the TikToker shared photos of cosmetic products they had stolen from stores 

They claimed on this post to have stolen these products five days before

They claimed on this post to have stolen these products five days before 

A group of ten retailers, including John Lewis and Tesco, are funding a new police crackdown on shoplifting that will use CCTV pictures and data from shops to put together a better picture of thieves’ tactics.

Meanwhile, some shoplifters are using TikTok to share tips on how to steal from stores and adopting codewords like ‘borrowing’ to avoid detection by the social media site’s filters.

One user ranked stores out of ten based on how easy they were to steal from, with Asda given top marks because its branches are ‘so easy’ to target.

Poundland got a seven because it only had a ‘couple of cameras and if you get caught you can just pay for it’, while Savers was rated two as it has ‘lots of cameras and staff will follow you if they think you’re suspicious’.

Superdrug was given a five because its ‘security is getting better’ but it is ‘easy for lip glosses’, while Wilko received nine because its security stickers ‘are easily peeled off’.

A list of shoplifting tips shared by a TikToker. This particular post appears to have come from the US

A list of shoplifting tips shared by a TikToker. This particular post appears to have come from the US 

Tips shared by the criminals on TikTok include wearing loose clothing to make it easier to hide stolen goods, not looking at security cameras and avoiding small businesses as they are more likely to take action.

Policing minister Chris Philp said he was ‘horrified’ that TikTok had allowed the posts to remain online and would be asking for an urgent meeting with its executives. Similar content has also been published on other social media platforms.

‘They should not be facilitating the spread of criminal practice,’ he told The Times.

A TikTok spokesman said: ‘We have zero tolerance for content facilitating or encouraging criminal activities, including theft, as set out in our community guidelines and will remove this content if found.’

A brazen thief at a Co-op in Lavender Hill, Wandsworth, with his heavy rucksack weighed down by stolen booze

A brazen thief at a Co-op in Lavender Hill, Wandsworth, with his heavy rucksack weighed down by stolen booze 

A thief seen in Nottingham. Ten major retailers are set to pump in £600,000 into a police operation to tackle shoplifting

A thief seen in Nottingham. Ten major retailers are set to pump in £600,000 into a police operation to tackle shoplifting

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