HARD-UP Brits are getting hooked on the “high” of shoplifting and are unable to stop themselves, addiction experts claim.
Hundreds have turned to pinching essentials in recent months to feed their families as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
Staff at the UK Addiction Treatment Group have seen an “astronomical” rise in people seeking help with shoplifting addiction.
The rehab and recovery centre has averaged around 30 calls a week this year compared to just ten a month in 2022.
Nuno Albuquerque, its head of treatment, said: “Shoplifting addiction gives the thief the same ‘rush’ or ‘high’ that a person using drugs or alcohol would get.
“For most, the feeling only lasts a short time.
“As it makes them feel so good, they’re compelled, physically and mentally, to do it again.
“For some, their addiction has developed out of necessity — they are repeatedly stealing in order to feed their family.”
The British Retail Consortium says cases of shoplifting are rocketing.
There were 7.9million last year — 5million up on 2016/17.
The cost to retailers in the period has gone from £503million to £953million.
Police treat those who take items worth less than £200 as “low priority” and they are rarely arrested.