We have to pay to report shoplifters to the police: Despairing shopkeepers have ... trends now
Thieves have become increasingly 'brazen' because they know 'nothing is going to happen' with police, a shopkeeper has complained.
A shopkeeping family from Luton said it had even handed police video proof on a £10 memory stick of the shoplifters in action - only for the police to do nothing.
Molly Patel owns two convenience stores that are regularly targeted by shoplifters.
But she has stopped reporting most incidents because the process is time-consuming and expensive, while police have never arrested a suspect.
Last year her daughter Holly, who works as a supervisor, handed police CCTV of a suspect, as well as their name and address, only to be told there was 'insufficient evidence' to proceed with the case.
Retail store owners Molly Patel and Holly Patel have said the police refuse to prosecute even when they are handed clear evidence. Picture shows thieves grabbing items from shelves at the BP Fourways Garage and M&S Store, Cottingham Road, Corby
The businesswomen have even taken the step of posting footage of the thieves stealing along with their names and identity to police - only to hear there is 'insufficient evidence'. Picture shows an incident involving a group of masked men stealing alcohol from behind a supermarket counter in 2023
Entrepreneur Mrs Patel, who also owns a Hallmark gift shop and Post Office in the town, doesn't employ a security guard (stock photo) because it 'doesn't deter anyone'
Holly, 33, has to purchase a memory stick, download incriminating CCTV onto it, and post it by special delivery to Bedfordshire Police whenever they want to report an incident.
The process takes several hours and typically costs around £10 each time – and there is no way to simply upload the information via the internet.
'We've got photos on the wall – a Wall of Shame – but they're just brazen because they know nothing is going to happen to them,' said Mrs Patel, 61.
'They come in and take what they want. The staff do stand up to them and say "You've put something in your pocket".
'Sometimes you get it back but the majority of the time they just say they're taking it. What can you do?'
Widow Mrs Patel opened her first Molly's Supermarket in Luton in 1992 and another in 2002.
She employs around 35 people and the businesses get glowing online ratings from locals who shop there.
But the stores average at least one shoplifting incident