Serial offenders are a blight on the retail sector. But in new podcast series, Retail Crime Uncovered (YouTube, Spotify, available now), the severity of the issue is brought to the fore.

Hosted by criminology professor Emmeline Taylor, it seeks to address the problem from every angle, and be the “go-to podcast for anything and everything retail crime”.

Her interviewees include crime and loss experts, shop staff, policing bodies, even ex-offenders.

In one eye-opening episode, Taylor spoke with two prolific thieves about their route into crime, their experience of the criminal justice system and rehabilitation. “It’s a very hard disease to understand unless you live it and feel it,” said one.

Engaging with ex-offenders is a valuable exercise for retailers, Taylor said, and can “test security weaknesses, loss prevention strategy, store layout, and staff training.”

In the most recent episode, Taylor delved into more organised retail crime, talking to detective chief superintendent Jim Taylor about Operation Pegasus.

The op will see analysts build a national picture of shoplifting gangs operating across the UK.

It marks a first, listeners learned, as it is retailers themselves funding the operation. At last they were “putting aside their competitive differences and recognised there is one goal they wanted to achieve: to combat organised crime” the superintendent said.

As the host put it: “The picture of offending is not straightforward”.