STRUGGLING residents across Wrexham and Flintshire have been urged to reach out for help instead of turning to crime.

Over recent weeks and months, we've covered many shoplifting and other retail-related crime cases in court.

On April 25, Adam Roberts, of Hampson Avenue in Wrexham, appeared at Mold Magistrates Court.

The 37-year-old admitted three offences of theft from shop - which took place at the Co-op in Prince Charles Road and Tesco.

And during the hearing, a statement from Tesco set out the scale of the problem, with a spokesman explaining staff are dealing with thefts on a "near-daily basis," which has an impact on "the business and morale of staff."

Highlighting the issue even more, a man appeared in court just last week for a theft of Lego from the Tesco store which took place on April 29 - not to mention a recent statement from Co-op about "an unprecedented rise in retail crime driven by repeat and prolific offenders."

And retail trade union Usdaw spoke in April of its deep concern after crime statistics for England and Wales showed that in 2023 there was a 37 increase in shoplifting. 

The Leader: Andy White (Staff)Andy White (Staff) (Image: Staff)We spoke to Andy White, town events and support manager at Buckley Town Council and Ruth Rees, former chair of Wrexham Business Group CIC, about the impact crime has on high streets and local businesses.

Mr White said: "Shoplifting has had a massive impact.

"Buckley isn't really a retail town but there is shoplifting here.

"There has been a noticeable increase in the theft of food from the likes of Spar and Iceland.

"People are in desperate times.

"Traders are frustrated because it's an added element - not only are they struggling with a downturn in turnover because of the cost of living, but when they then have items stolen as well, it's a double-whammy.

"That's coming out of their pockets and it does hit morale.

"There's also been anti-social behaviour of late, certainly in the Spar shop.

"It's not a nice environment for people to go to work in.

"The sad thing is, these people (shoplifters and other retail criminals) don't think of others.

"The impact it has affects the whole community, where people want to feel safe."

Mr White urged anyone who may be struggling to reach out for help rather than turning to crime.

He said: "People will have a sympathetic ear if they think others are struggling.

"There is help out there, you don't have to resort to violence, abuse and theft; that's not the way forward.

"For example in Buckley, we have the community fridge or for more formal help there's Flintshire Connects - which is in all town - where people can go to get advice.

"This problem isn't unique to Buckley at all and like anywhere else, we have times where it quietens down and then we have spates."

The Leader: Ruth ReesRuth Rees (Image: Ruth Rees)Ms Rees, co-owner of Martin Rees Jewellers, said while thefts don't occur very frequently in her business, when they do they can be devastating.

She said: "If we do get a distraction theft, it can seriously affect our profits for the month.

"Some thieves can be extremely clever and their actions can be very damaging.

"I think it really does have an impact on staff; it may not be their fault but they feel awful.

"Some people think of shoplifting as a victimless crime but it's really not, particularly when stealing from a smaller business.

"It can be devastating for them.

"Some can end up with serious and nasty problems which might even make them unviable in the end."

Ms Rees also urged people struggling to seek help rather than stealing to make money or put food on the table.

"There are always other options," she explained.

"We have Given To Shine, Yellow and Blue and organisations like that - there's always someone you can turn to for help.

"Crime isn't the only answer to deal with it."