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Shoppers to shoplifters as Brits lose jobs

Hit by job losses, a growing number of Britain's middle-class is turning to shop-lifting from upmarket stores that they earlier shopped from but can no longer afford, according to an anti-crime group.

In some cases, customers have been caught stealing at shops where they were once valued and trusted customers, reports from Leicester said. Citywatch, the anti-crime group, regularly monitors such activities in collaboration with shops and businesses.

The reason for the increase in the cases of shop-lifting in Leicester is attributed to job losses and recession.

Graham Collins, Citywatch intelligence officer, told Leicester Mercury, a leading local daily, that most of the culprits were women, aged 30 to 40, targeting chiefly cosmetics and perfumes.

He said: ‘It's a strange thing but we can only guess that it's something to do with people losing their jobs.

‘Maybe they have had to give up the little luxuries they've always enjoyed because money is tight and they've reached the point where they've decided to steal them.'

Collins added: ‘It might be a spur of the moment, opportunist thing or it might be more deliberate, but there's definitely a growing number of middle class people doing this.'

Citywatch publishes convicted shoplifters' details from court records on its website.

Collins said: ‘We hope that will be a deterrent to these people. As well as having a criminal record for the theft, they will also be exposed publicly.'
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