Booze, lingerie and the iPad top shoplifters' Christmas lists
BOTTLES of rum, ladies' underwear, 'The Wire' box set, iPads and videogames will top the wanted list in a €82m shoplifting spree here over Christmas.
A new Europe-wide study on retail crime has found that Ireland is the worst offender per head of population.
And Irish retail staff or suppliers are as likely to be the guilty party as those pretending to be customers in shops.
The study, carried out by the Centre for Retail Research in Britain, forecasts that €3m more of goods will be stolen this year in Ireland than last and it seems we can blame our politicians for this too.
"Certainly for the last two years, Ireland has been at or near the top of the table," Professor Joshua Bamfield told the Irish Independent yesterday.
"Some people always steal but, although I don't want to get involved in Irish politics, it is the case all over the world that people feel let down by the political system and people they had previously respected. And this gives people an excuse.
"It's also a difficult economic time for many. So why do they buy things that have 'fallen off the back of a lorry'?
"Well one reason is that they feel if they don't look after themselves then no-one else will."
And many of the individual items will be stolen with an eye on the market.
"Shop lifting follows the same path as demand," Prof Bamfield said. "So just as young people are turning to rum-based drinks, shoplifters are also looking very carefully at that.
"Of course, stealing alcohol is very acceptable to other people. 'Shall I steal three bottles of whiskey or shall I steal an iPad?'
"It's very easy to get rid of the whiskey. You could do it within minutes after you leave the store."
The study has been carried out since the mid-1980s and is based on detailed shoplifting information from retailers, projected sales over the six weeks to Christmas and the results of previous surveys.
It predicts that Irish stores will lose €41.77m this Christmas to shoplifting by 'customers', another €33.2m to light-fingered staff and some €7.1m along the supply chain.
"At Christmas, retailers, in order to cope with the onslaught of shoppers, take on a lot of temporary staff and there are always problems with that," Prof Bamfield said.
"Retailers in the UK and Ireland particularly report high levels of employee theft while there are also problems with delivery men and temporary warehouse employees."
More than €5.4bn will be stolen from retailers across Europe between now and the middle of January.
But Ireland has the highest retail crime cost-per head at €20.70, beating Norway (€19.46) and Britain (€19.15).
The study found that although shoplifting in general is more often committed by females, the average seasonal shoplifter is 25 and male.
The average value of items stolen will top €100 this year.