Somerset family business targeted by ‘aggressive’ daily shoplifting

Shoplifters flee with baskets full of meat. Credit: Tout's Cleeve

Staff at a family-run shop in Somerset say they have become victims of ‘aggressive’ daily shoplifting.

Tout’s - which has three shops in Nailsea, Langford and Cleeve - have now hired security guards to help tackle the regular incidents. 

Store manager Steph Featherstone said: “It’s got so much more aggressive. We are getting people that are shoplifting daily. We are catching so many shoplifters but it is getting more violent.”

Ms Featherstone  spends hours every week submitting CCTV and evidence online to the police, but she says she never hears of what actions are taken. 

She adds shoplifters specifically target high value items like meat or alcohol.

CCTV taken inside the shop in Cleeve shows groups of people fleeing with baskets full of mince meat and steaks. In another instance a confrontation is captured when a woman is told to stop shoplifting.

Tom Cattermole says he has received personal threats. Credit: ITV News

Assistant manager Tom Cattermole says he has experienced personal threats when calling out shoplifters.

Mr Cattermole said: “I’ve worked in retail for a long time but I’ve never known it as bad as this. A couple yesterday just shouted abuse at me - saying ‘I’m going to come back and smash up the store’ or ‘I’m going to wait for you outside’. It is quite scary.”

Avon and Somerset Police say they have to prioritise ongoing threats to the public and are receiving, on average, 245 calls a day in North Somerset.

In a statement they said: “We encourage shop workers to report crime and aim to respond to incidents of shoplifting proportionately, prioritising those in which threats are made, acts of violence are reported or a suspect has been detained.

“When operational demand means we're unable to attend immediately, thefts and other incidents in shops are still investigated, with stores asked to upload CCTV through our website.

"Our neighbourhood teams are committed to working with individual businesses and business groups to support them and have successfully used anti-social behaviour legislation to ban persistent thieves from certain areas.

“Shop staff should be able to feel safe in their workplace and we don’t underestimate the impact of these types of crime.

“Recently we’ve had an average 245 calls per day in North Somerset alone and we do have to prioritise the incidents officers attend based on an assessment of the level of ongoing threat, harm and risk.”