Guide to shoplifting angers retail community

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Student publication branded ‘irresponsible, if not illegal’.

A guide to the "art of shoplifting" published by students from Queen Mary College, University of London has been branded irresponsible by retailers.

The guide, which originally appeared in an Australian student newspaper more than 15 years ago, features stealing techniques and advice on how to avoid getting caught by shop staff.

Students at the university have said the guide is “satirical”, but retailers are refusing to see the funny side.

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Andrew Dodd, spokesperson of the British Retail Consortium, was quoted as saying that shop crime is “no laughing matter”. He added: “’This guide is extremely irresponsible, if not illegal. Everyone involved in it should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging people to steal from shops.”

According to some press reports, the students involved in publishing the material could be prosecuted for their actions. Under UK law it is illegal to assist or encourage the commission of any criminal offence even if none is actually committed.

Figures released by the BRC earlier this year suggest the overall cost of retail crime costs the industry £1.1 billion a year. The BRC said that investments made by retailers to protect premises and staff continue to increase.

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