A new report shows Essex is the 13th worst county for shoplifting in England.

Essex Police noted despite an rise in theft reports between May 2018 and May 2019, officers have arrested 179 more offenders over the same period - an increase of 5.2 per cent.

Retail security experts Morphean looked at the total shoplifting incidents per region based on the most recent data provided from The Office of National Statistics.

A spokesman from Morphean said: “The report concluded UK retailers lose an annual £4.4bn meaning smaller retailers just starting out can’t afford to be losing products straight off their shelves."

Essex Police also issued a statement following the latest figures.

“This increase of arrests is a direct result of proactive policing by our Community Policing Teams, with support from PCSOs and officers from our Special Constabulary,” they said. “We have also made improvements in other areas relating to theft offences.

Theft from a person is down 13 per cent with 215 fewer reports and theft of bikes has dropped by 5.5 per cent with 131 less offences.

“Additionally, anti-social behaviour has dropped by 8.7 per cent, 4288 less reports – a crime area that really impacts on our shopping communities.

“We understand shoplifting can have an impact on businesses and livelihoods, regardless of the value of items stolen.

“We continue to encourage victims of crime to report incidents to us by following the guidance set out by the Retail Crime Unit at www.essex.police.uk/advice/business-crime/shoplifting/.”