Shoplifters in South Yorkshire committed 10,345 offences last year, new figures reveal.
In one month alone traders lost goods worth £162,500, with 1,799 offences reported.
In a bid to deter thieves , police chiefs in South Yorkshire have launched their ‘Not The Answer’ campaign, hoping that posters featuring family members behind bars will make people think twice about turning to crime to ease their financial difficulties.
Advice leaflets have also been printed and a dedicated website has been set up featuring information about foodbanks and debt advice services.
It also highlights then penalties for shoplifting, including prison.
Retailers are urged to visit the site for crime prevention advice.
Chief Inspector Gwyn Thomas, responsible for driving down retail crime in South Yorkshire, said: “Sometimes shoplifting may seem like the only option that you have to provide for your family but it could make your situation worse.
“The reality is that by making a bad decision you could find yourself behind bars leaving your family to cope on their own.
“I would urge people to think very carefully about the many other ways in which support can be given rather than resorting to crime.”
Chief Insp Thomas said working with the retail community was a key part of the campaign.
“We can not underestimate the huge impact shoplifting has on our economy and safeguarding businesses and jobs is of upmost importance,” he said.
“We will continue to do everything we can to protect retailers and businesses from falling victim to this crime and reduce the opportunities for thieves.
“Through the campaign and increasing our engagement with all members of the community, we really hope to bring home the message that shoplifting is not the answer for you or your family.”
For more information visit www.southyorks.police.uk/nottheanswer