Crime wave sweeps through UK garden centres

The UK’s Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has joined forces with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and other major retailers to call for action on the escalating crisis of retail crime.

In 2022, the HTA estimated £16 million worth of garden centre turnover had been lost to retail crime over the last 12 months. Over 70 per cent of garden centres reported crime as an issue.

Fran Barnes, Chief Executive of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), commented: “The HTA’s retail members, the many and much loved local garden centres across the UK, have expressed increasing concern over the level and impact of theft from their premises. We are more and more often hearing reports of an increased value of goods stolen, an increased threat to staff or, at worst, assault, and most disappointingly, a postcode lottery of police responses to reports of these crimes.

“The safety of staff comes first. That is one of the reasons we are joining with the BRC and others to make this call to the Home Secretary to create a new statutory offence of assaulting, threatening, or abusing a retail worker. More must be done to recognise these situations’ impact on workers and businesses.

“Ultimately, this also all adds costs on already stretched businesses. They have been forced to increase their spend and actions to increase their security and safety. This is all on top of high energy and input costs, a year of challenging weather and an unsettled economic climate.”

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