Scottish retailers are pleading with police to deal with shoplifters with cases at their highest since 2013.
New figures reveal that, despite the most cases since the formation of Police Scotland, only a quarter are being dealt with.
In the full year ending September 30, Police Scotland recorded 33,789 incidents of shoplifting, up 30% from the previous year.
Only about half of the incidents are 'cleared up', however, that only requires the force to 'consider' a criminal prosecution. It doesn't require a charge or prosecution.
"In most cases the culprits know that there won’t be any consequences for their actions," said head of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, Pete Cheema.
He added: "It isn’t just a bottle of wine or box of laundry detergent that is going missing, but whole shelves are being cleared out.
“The numbers don’t account for the thousands of cases that are not reported."
"Stores provide the police with names, addresses and CCTV footage, but no action is taken. This is destroying retailer confidence in our justice system."
Almost 8,000 cases of abuse and assaults of retail staff have occurred over the past two years, though, according to The Times, the government has refused to publish data on how many people have been convicted.
The union Usdaw found that most cases of violence, threats and abuse towards retail staff, around 60%, is related to shoplifting, often occurring when shoppers get caught in the act.
Cheema added: “It is not only staff wellbeing and businesses that are being impacted by these crimes.
"Retailer’s families and the wider community are impacted as well, and the extra cost will inevitably be passed on to customers, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis. It’s time for ministers and the justice system to put their house in order.”