Thieving shopworkers are being thwarted by a tough retailer stance and more hi-tech crime prevention.

The latest findings from the European Retail Theft Barometer show UK supermarkets are winning the fight against crime, with shrinkage dropping 10.1% among the big chains, representing 0.71% of turnover.

Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research - which published the research along with Checkpoint Systems Europe - said theft prevention was no longer just about arresting shoplifters, but that there was increasing focus on staff theft.

"Tagging and data-mining software have been successful while the supermarkets are getting better at ensuring they recruit good staff," he said.

The barometer revealed that UK retailers reported a total loss of more than £3.8bn due to customer, employee and supplier theft and internal reporting errors. However shrinkage fell 3.6% in the past year to 1.33% of turnover. Food specialists, such as delis and bakers, saw shrinkage fall by 0.7% (1.44% of turnover) while shrinkage was up by 12.4% (1.9% of turnover) for non-food retailers.

In food stores, perfumes are still the biggest lure for thieves, followed by razor blades, cosmetics, alcohol and expensive food.