Shoplifting by staff rocketed during 2012, according to a report by the Association of Convenience Stores.

The ACS survey, which questioned 3,465 outlets, said incidents of staff theft had increased by 88% in 2012.

“The significant spike in staff theft is shocking,” said ACS chairman James Lowman. “The reality of theft from criminals who seek out and then a position of trust is particularly hard for retailers to stomach. We urge police and the criminal justice system to provide the necessary support to retailers in gathering the evidence and pursuing prosecutions where these crimes take place.”

The survey also showed a 23% reduction in robberies, a 16% reduction in burglaries and a 10% reduction in incidences of violence against retailers or staff.

“These results demonstrate that local shops have been successful in implementing measures to mitigate and even prevent the impact of planned crimes like robberies and burglaries,” added Lowman.

“Although there is a worrying increase in opportunist crimes such as till snatches, which increased by 28%, we urge retailers to stay vigilant and implement common sense policies like keeping cash levels low.