When you spot a shoplifter in your store what can you do?

Option 1: Do nothing and let them take whatever they want. Then tell their associates who will be back in force, as you will be labelled as a ‘soft target’.

Option 2: You can ask them “the item you have just put in your bag… would you like me to put that on the counter for you?”  Non- confrontational approach, but also says that I have seen what you have done and I’m giving you an opportunity to rectify the situation before taking it further.

Option 3: You can ring Police on 111.  Just be aware that sometimes there may be delays depending on what is going on throughout the area.  If you are going to ring Police, then ring when they have first concealed the product, not when they are exiting your shop, it’s too late by then.


The best way to avoid issues is to operate with a 'Prevention first' mindset...

Look at the layout of your shop.  If the shelving is too high, that creates places for shoplifters to hide behind. 

Look at where the counter is positioned.  If it is nearer the front of the shop then it is more difficult to get items out the door unnoticed.

Look at the amount of staff you have on during the day.  Try staggering breaks.  Our criminals start normally offending in town, from around 11am onwards because they are aware that lunch breaks happen and there is not a full complement of staff on.

Know your stock well.  Organise it on your shelves so that you roughly know what products are where and approx. numbers of each.

If clothing is on coat hangers, then alternate the way the coat hanger is placed on the rack, so that a shoplifter cannot come in and take the whole rack of clothes in one swoop.

With expensive boxed items, just put a box out, without the product in it.  A genuine customer will ask to look at the item if they want to purchase it.

Consider putting expensive small items in glass cabinets.

Customer service is the key.  If your customers know you are attentive and are watching them, then they are less likely to steal from you.

If you are the only staff member in the shop and already serving someone, when another person walks in, just say in a loud voice ‘I’ve got my eye on you, I won’t be a minute’.  Meaning I’m watching you!  (Even if I am not, it just gives that impression).




To deter shoplifters and give your customers a giggle, please feel free to download our Shoplifting Christmas Message and post it prominintly in your store.

Download our Anti-shoplifting Christmas Poster here...