First time shoplifters could escape prosecution if they apologise and return stolen items valued at £200 or less, according to a government consultation.

The details are set out in a Home Office consultation called Strengthening Powers to Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour, according to reports in the Daily Mail. Those caught a second time would receive an £80 fine.

The British Retail Consortium criticised the proposal: “It is nonsense to think a repeat offender is going to be put off by an £80 fine,” said director general Kevin Hawkins. “And what kind of message does it send to a first time offender if all they have to do is say a quick sorry before heading off home?”