The Association of Convenience Stores is demanding the Government gets tougher on sentencing of shoplifters.

It is urging ministers to review sanctions for shop theft after latest Ministry of Justice figures revealed that a staggering 60% of offenders sentenced for shoplifting had three or more previous convictions for the same crime.

The statistics also revealed that the number of fixed penalty notices issued had tripled in three years to reach 207,000 last year, an increase of 7% on 2006 figures. But despite the increase in on-the-spot fines, only 60% are paid within the 21 days in which payment is required.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said fines and cautions are not effective deterrents for repeat offenders.

"The way the on the spot fine system was intended to work has not been the case," he said.

"We want a full review, looking back at what the intentions were, if it has been effective and, if not, how it can be changed to make it work."

He added: "People that are persistent offenders need to have proper sanctions. It doesn't seem that they are at the moment."