New research has revealed that West Devon is the safest place to own a shop in the UK. 

The research, by shop insurance experts, extracted crime data for England and Wales to see where shoplifting was the biggest problem. 

West Devon - including Tavistock, Okehampton, Hatherleigh and North Tawton - saw the fewest shoplifting crimes annually, with 0.6 crimes per 1,000 people. 

The area was followed on the list by East Devon and the South Hams, while Mid-Devon, Teignbridge and Torridge all made the top ten - making Devon the region the least at risk of shoplifting crimes.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimated that there were eight million ‘theft incidents’ in British shops last year, costing £953,000,000.

Tips for shop owners to reduce the risk of shoplifting include employee training, the use of surveillance equipment, organised store layouts and suitable insurance. 

Cameron Jaques, business insurance expert, commented: “The cost of living crisis is affecting us all. 

“With the cost of food and basic necessities continuing to rise, it’s not surprising that shoplifting is on the rise as well, as large segments of UK’s population struggle to afford essential everyday items.

“In the world of retail, it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' theft or shoplifting will occur. 

“These unfortunate events can strike any business at any time, causing significant financial strain and disruption. 

“Shop insurance acts as a guardian for your store, providing essential protection when you need it the most. 

“It's the safety net that ensures your business can withstand the challenges posed by theft and shoplifting, allowing you to focus on serving your customers and growing your enterprise.

“Preventing shoplifting in your store is crucial for maintaining profitability and a safe shopping environment.”