Struggling families across Teesside are being urged to seek help rather than turning to crime or buying on the blackmarket as figures show food continues to be stolen from shops across the area.
In September police were called to 75 incidents of shoplifting where food and other groceries had been stolen or attempts had been made to steal items.
Among some of the goods taken were loaves of bread, meat, cheese, eggs and biscuits and other staple groceries including coffee, washing tablets and fabric conditioner.
In some cases full baskets of food were stolen; police are investigating an incident at a supermarket in Yarm on 10th September in which a woman and child left with a full unpaid trolley including nappies, meat and other food.
As ‘career shoplifters’ continue to take advantage of the current climate by stealing food to sell cheaper on the blackmarket, police believe there are people who are ashamedly forced into shoplifting to feed themselves and their families.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Dickson, leading on the Force action plan, said: “My message is directed to those who believe they have no choice but to steal food to survive; there is help and support and turning to crime is not the answer. A criminal record will last a lot longer than a phone call to a support agency, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger has provided links on his website to information on how to be referred to local food banks. He said: “These figures show the stark reality of how people are trying to cope in modern times. In 2013 Britain it’s shocking to contemplate people feeling they have no option but to steal food to survive.
“As Teessiders we need to pull together to help those living in our area who are in need by raising awareness of local support mechanisms.
Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2013