As costs rise, shopkeepers have found themselves in a battle with petty criminals stealing alcohol and goods from under their noses.

Data shows that shoplifting in Slough is rapidly increasing, with 70 incidents of shoplifting reported to police in December 2023 - over two a day.

Month by month, shoplifting has increased, with December 2022 having only seen instances of shoplifting 24 times.

Manager at Fair Price Food and Wine, Honey Singh, 34, said: "It is quite bad around here."

On multiple occasions, Mr Singh has seen people steal alcohol, but states "police do not do anything".

"We need more patrols and when we call them we need them to actually come."

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Mr Singh said the increase in shoplifting started a few months ago when the prices started to rise.

"Sometimes we don't even know something is missing. It is leaving us £50 to £100 down."

Further down Slough High Street, Cyclon Food and Wine's manager Saad Haroun told a similar story of beers, soft drinks and chocolate being stolen up to five times a day - equating to £500 a month.

Alban Britto, manager of Pauls News and Booze in The Village said he is always keeping an eye on people.

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"Shoplifting is happening too much. There are many many occurrences," Mr Britto said.

"We have CCTV footage and this has been reported to the police but nothing has been done."

Mr Britto said he is "very disappointed" in police and believes it is the same offenders coming into his shop. 

He has been told to bar people from the premises but says this is not easy to enforce as he works alone behind the till on most days.

"It started three to four months ago, perhaps due to the cost of living," he said.

"They [thieves] have come sometimes branding something. I have been threatened before."

Mr Britto said it is often homeless people and drug addicts that frequent his store, however, Mohammad Shahid, manager of Observatory News, said it is often teenagers who steal from him.

"They are troublemakers," he said. "Usually four or five of them come in and I cannot leave my counter."

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Mr Shahid said the teenagers target drinks and vapes.

It isn't just corner shops that are being impacted by shoplifters, with One Below and JD Sports also battling thieves.

One Below security guard Safullah Oullah said there are three or four shoplifting incidents a day, mainly targeting perfumes, shampoos and chocolates.

"They fill bags and get out - most of the time when I am on a break."

Another store, which wished not to be named, has said that shoplifters have become "rampant and aggressive"

Slough Borough Council are aware that shoplifting is an issue.

A council spokesperson said: "Crime is sadly on the rise nationally, including retail crime, and we are working with partners, including Slough BID, to support shopkeepers."

Map of shoplifting cases in Slough in December 2023

Clarissa Parker from Slough BID has said that over the last two years, the BID has been "active and committed" to giving the High Street a Safe and Secure focus, actively helping to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

As a result, a Slough BID Warden Team operates on the high street six days a week. 

Over 30 retailers are also connected via radio to report any ASB and criminal behaviours.

Meanwhile, improved CCTV is being rolled out across the town by Thames Valley Police - who took over the operation of the cameras from Slough Borough Council in January.

Superintendent Felicity Parker, Head of Policing Strategy Unit from Thames Valley Police said: “Increased staffing and the use of technology to identify crime hot spots will support work to prevent crime and increase people’s feelings of safety in our public spaces. 

"In addition, the new digital camera definition provides us clearer footage to better investigate opportunities to pursue offenders."

Clarissa Parker added: "The strategy has been developed jointly with retailers, business groups and Thames Valley Police, the PCC’s Retail Crime Strategy sets out tangible actions to tackle shoplifting, retail crime and violence towards shop workers.

"The strategy aims to support businesses and create a hostile environment for those who commit crimes in the local economy by focusing on six key pillars: Intelligence, Enforcement, Partnership, Prevention, Justice and Reassurance."

Thames Valley Police confirmed they remain committed to tackling shoplifting and retail crime.

A spokesperson added: "We are acutely aware of the impact that these crimes have on those that work in the retail industry and the financial implications it has.

“As with any crime, we rely on evidence with CCTV to support our investigations. The new digital camera definition provides us with clearer footage to better investigate opportunities to pursue offenders.

“If there is a crime in action, we would encourage businesses to contact the force on 999. Where it’s not in action, we would also encourage businesses to report shoplifting to the force via the website or by calling 101.”