New figures published show that shoplifting offences have risen by 25% in the last year, costing retailers one billion pounds a year in losses.

In light of this, The Chronicle spoke to local Reading shops to ask them how they have been affected and what they are doing to tackle shoplifting.

Go Go Gadgets Employee Lily Weineck told us that the store has recently had quite a few things stolen, including two pinball machines whose combined cost was £300.

“This happened during the day,” she said. “When we saw the gap on the shelf it was too late to do anything. The shoplifting is a lot worse here than in my previous employment in Basingstoke.”

The store has now taken to removing more expensive items, like drones and game consoles, from display boxes to limit what can be stolen.

They also installed an alarmed cabinet, so a loud siren goes off if anyone tries to take anything.

The Chronicle then spoke to Yours Clothing employee Jaycee James who said: “We keep finding security tags in jean pockets where people have hidden them.

“This all happens in the changing rooms. We have security barriers but they can’t do anything if the tags have already been taken off.”

Another employee said: “Shoplifting is crazy at the minute. It’s left right and centre! One of the main issues is the cost-of-living crisis.”

The Chronicle also visited Flamingos Vintage and spoke to store manager Vinny Almeida. “It does happen occasionally,” he said. “People try stuff on in the changing rooms then take the clothes.”

The shop has recently installed security cameras to try and combat shoplifting, and bought a machine to scan notes to check if they are real or not.

He continued: “We’ve seen the same group of women try and give us fake Scottish £50 notes. They’ve tried to do this more than three times now.

“The advice I give to other managers, give your staff the right training and make sure that you are on top of it. It’s important to be aware.”

The Chronicle also reached out to worldwide brand Primark to ask for a comment on the shoplifting crisis.

A spokesman for Primark said: “Like many retailers, we are seeing an increase in shoplifting across our stores. We’re investing in additional security measures to address this.

Fundamental change however will be driven at industry and societal level and we are working closely with other retailers, police, and local authorities.”