SHOPLIFTING offences in the region have soared by 20 per cent in the past year, new figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that around 19,700 thefts from shops were recorded by West Yorkshire Police in the year to June – up from 16,400 in the previous 12 months.

Across England and Wales, shoplifting crimes increased by 25 per cent, from 293,000 offences in 2021-22 to 365,200 last year.

The overall number of thefts in West Yorkshire has also risen, from 72,500 in 2021-22 to 80,000 last year.

And total crimes recorded regionally and nationally have gone up – in this region, from 304,400 to 313,200.

The Office for National Statistics says the increase in shoplifting has been one of the main factors behind the overall crime rise, together with a jump in fraud offences involving businesses, more of which have been reported due to action by industry bodies.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson says: "Police forces across the country have seen an increase in recorded theft offences.

"In many cases, the theft itself is only reported to the police after a suspect has already left the area, but we still take reports with analysis undertaken to link patterns of offending to try to identify those engaged in multiple offences.

"While there has been an increase in overall theft offences, we have not seen a notable rise in organised criminality or theft in which violence is used.

"In fact, violence with injury offences have decreased over this period."

Chief Constable John Robins says: "While it is disappointing to see a slight increase in recorded crime in the county, this is in line with the national picture and against a backdrop of unprecedented demand on the police and other emergency services.

"West Yorkshire Police remains one of the best-performing forces in the country. In our latest inspection looking at effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy, the force was graded outstanding in four areas, including preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and disrupting serious and organised crime.

"West Yorkshire has also previously been singled out by the inspectorate for our crime-recording accuracy.

“We are one of the largest police forces in the country and this, combined with our ethical approach to crime recording, means that we have some of the highest recorded crime rates nationally.

"What we can say though is that behind these statistics, we have put victims at the forefront."