SHOPLIFTING in some of Chard and Ilminster’s biggest retailers has halved in the last year.

Figures obtained by the News detail the locations for shoplifting offences across both towns in the last two years.

Supermarkets feature prominently in the list, with Tesco stores in Chard and Ilminster noticing 28 incidents in 2012/13, but the number of offences has fallen from 132 incidents in 2012/13 to 58 in 2013/14 and the major chains say they take every incident “extremely seriously”.

Between July 1, 2013, and June 26, only five of the 58 incidents of shoplifting recorded were in Ilminster.

In 2012/13, the Co-operative stores in Chard and Ilminster proved to be the biggest target for criminals with 27 incidents in 2012/13.

Figures released by Avon and Somerset Police under the Freedom of Information Act show premises such as Lidl UK, Tesco, B&Q and Boots The Chemist.

Deputy Mayor Garry Shortland, who also chairs Chard Town Team, a group set up three years ago to help regenerate the town, said any fall in the number of shoplifting incidents has got to be a positive.

He said: “It is good news for the retailers because it means that it is not eating into their profits and it helps to sustain the shops we have.”

Mr Shortland felt that, despite a larger number of shoplifting incidents happening in Chard, this was due to the town having larger national retailers that are easily targeted.

A spokesman from Avon and Somerset Police said: “Detections of shoplifting instances are reliant on the security measures put in place by the businesses concerned – this is, therefore, not a true reflection of the most targeted shops.”

  • The most common incidents in 2012/13 were: Co-Operative Retail Services – 27; Tesco Chard and Tesco Ilminster – 26; Lidl Uk – 16; B&Q – 12.
  • The most common incidents in 2013/14 were: Boots The Chemists – 17; Sainsburys Supermarkets – 10; Co- Operative Retail Services – 7; Store 21 – 5; Tesco – 4.