The Rising Theft Problem For UK Business  – Deadline News

From fuel theft and ATM attacks to shoplifting and cybercrime, businesses across various sectors are facing a multitude of threats when it comes down to business theft. 

In the UK, business theft has become a pressing concern, posing serious threats to the operational viability and financial stability of a wide range of industries. Some of the latest statistics for business crime in the UK have revealed that around 469,000 businesses experienced crime in 2023 so it’s become increasingly clear that companies need to be more vigilant than ever. 

Theft also costs UK businesses a lot of money as well. According to a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the cost of crime to retailers reached a staggering £1 billion in the past year alone. This represents a significant increase from previous years, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue. 

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Types of theft affecting UK businesses: 


Shoplifting remains a pervasive form of theft affecting retail businesses throughout the UK. Recent examples highlight the brazenness and audacity of shoplifters, who often work in organised groups to carry out their illegal activities. The impact on retail businesses is twofold, resulting in financial losses and higher prices for consumers as businesses strive to recover their losses. 

With the rise in prices across all industries in the United Kingdom and the cost of living crisis which is affecting many citizens across the country, shoplifting is becoming more and more common every day. According to a recent article from Metro, one in ten people have admitted to shoplifting (via self-checkouts at supermarkets ) due to the cost of living crisis. UK businesses are increasingly pushed to adapt their security measures in order to prevent theft and deter thieves in their stores.  

Fuel theft 

One of the areas where theft is becoming increasingly problematic is the theft of fuel from UK businesses. With inflation and other factors pushing up the price of fuel, petrol stations, businesses with on-site refuelling facilities, rural businesses, and farms are experiencing a significant increase in thefts.  

In 2022, the theft of oil, diesel, and other fuels from domestic premises doubled, and the overall cost of fuel theft rocketed by 244%, meaning businesses have to work harder to protect their assets?.  

As fuel prices remain high, concerns have been raised that the frequency of thefts could hold in 2023. In Scotland, one business partnership helped launch a crime prevention campaign to tackle the rising problem and effectively help prevent plant and fuel theft. 

Rural businesses, including farms, face a significant risk of fuel theft due to their practice of storing substantial quantities of fuel on-site. The sheer volume of fuel readily available in these locations makes them attractive targets for thieves seeking to profit or fulfil their own needs at the expense of the business owners.  

There are many ways to prevent fuel theft from commercial and agricultural premises, including proper tank positioning and access control, security lighting, defensive planting, the use of diesel dye, CCTV, alarm systems, and more.  Additional security measures during transportation can also contribute to a comprehensive approach to fuel theft prevention. 

ATM theft 

ATM theft is another form of crime that’s been on the rise with particular hotspots around the country facing the brunt of these attacks. As such, businesses need to consider additional measures to protect their assets.  

Highlighted by Statista, crime data shows that theft from UK cash machines has been an issue for years, with £28.1 million being stolen in 2020. Although the figures have reduced, with £74.6 million stolen in 2004, it is clear that ATM theft is still a modern issue. 

ATM theft encompasses various tactics, including ram raids and explosive attacks, targeting cash machines across the UK. Criminals employ methods such as ramming vehicles into ATMs or using explosive devices to gain access to cash. These incidents not only impact banks but also create a sense of insecurity among the general public, eroding trust in the financial system. 

The growing theft problem & what businesses can do about it 

Several factors contribute to the rise in theft within the UK business landscape. Economic conditions, including financial instability and rising inequality, can drive individuals towards illicit activities. The increased sophistication of thieves, aided by advancements in technology and organised crime networks, poses a significant challenge for businesses and law enforcement agencies alike. 

The societal and economic implications of the rising theft problem are far-reaching. Businesses face financial losses, increased insurance premiums, and decreased profitability, which can lead to job cuts and hinder economic growth. Moreover, the erosion of public trust in businesses and the overall sense of insecurity within communities can have a long-lasting impact on society. 

To mitigate the risk of theft, businesses can adopt various strategies. Implementing robust security measures, such as CCTV surveillance, access control systems, and alarm systems, can act as deterrents and aid in identifying and apprehending thieves. Training employees on theft prevention and creating a culture of vigilance can also contribute to minimising the risk. 

Businesses can further leverage resources and services available to combat theft. Collaborating with industry organisations, such as the British Retail Consortium, can provide access to valuable insights, best practices, and intelligence-sharing platforms. Engaging the expertise of security consultants and utilising innovative technology solutions can also enhance the overall security posture of businesses. 

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