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No wonder theft is on rise… there's no deterrent when cops don't investigate

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REMEMBER the old TV show Supermarket Sweep, where contestants darted around the aisles cramming a trolley with high-value items?

Well it’s now playing out in real life in supermarkets across the country, minus Dale Winton (RIP) and his brief replacement Rylan Clark.

Shoplifting is getting out of control - pictured two thieves loading bags with goods taken from the shelves of a Boots in London

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Shoplifting is getting out of control – pictured two thieves loading bags with goods taken from the shelves of a Boots in LondonCredit: Jam Press Vid/@CrimeLdn
Last October, police chiefs made the backwards decision that officers would attend shoplifting incidents only if violence was made against staff

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Last October, police chiefs made the backwards decision that officers would attend shoplifting incidents only if violence was made against staffCredit: Getty

Shoplifting escalated to the highest level on record last month: An epidemic frequently excused by liberal types as desperate people stealing food in a “cost-of-living crisis”.

Statistically, there will undoubtedly be a few helping themselves to, say, baby formula they couldn’t otherwise afford.

But what of 44-year-old David Hanson, who broke through a glass window at an M&S food hall in Streatham, South London, and helped himself to £500 worth of sirloin steak and 20 bottles of prosecco?

So, not just theft of high-value items, but criminal damage too.

A “desperate” man trying to feed his family?

Or, one suspects, a habitual tea leaf who can’t be bothered to get a proper job so steals expensive stuff he can flog for cash?

The store manager called police immediately after seeing the theft on CCTV, but guess what?

Despite actual footage of him in the act, the Met Police decided not to investigate despite immediately recognising him as a prolific thief in the area.

Turns out he’d burgled the same premises several days before, which had also been dismissed by police as unworthy of further investigation. What the hell?

So M&S turned to a private investigation firm run by former Scotland Yard Chief Detective David McKelvey, who has already helped prosecute 280 shoplifters.

A Tesco store has taken the measure of checking people on camera before they’re allowed in due to a shoplifting epidemic

They gathered the evidence on Hanson — who had 105 previous convictions including 33 burglaries from back in the day when, presumably, the police did bother themselves with such matters — and last week he became the first person to be jailed (for a year) through a private prosecution.

“The lesson is that every burglary deserves an investigation because there is always an opportunity to solve the case if you take the time to do the basics,” says McKelvey.

Hear hear.

Yet last October, police chiefs made the curious decision that officers would attend shoplifting incidents only if violence was made against staff, a suspected burglar was actually detained or help was needed to gather evidence.

The case follows shocking footage of two men ransacking a Boots store in Chingford, North East London, in broad daylight, shovelling products into two large holdalls with a speed that would easily escalate them straight into the final of Supermarket Sweep.

Helpless staff simply look on, but who can blame them?

It’s not their job to risk life and limb by challenging two strapping young men who would easily overpower them.

But it is the job of the police — who are funded by council tax, business rates and general grant funding on the basis that they help to keep us safe — to help track them down and prosecute them.

Yet, in London, less than 40 per cent of reported shoplifting incidents were attended by the police, meaning that over 60 per cent were left to just get on with it.

Hardly a deterrent to the likes of Hanson et al, is it?

Some will read the reports of these lootings and think, ‘So what? The stores can afford it’.

But that’s not the point.

It’s a fundamental and blatant breach of the laws of this country and now businesses are tightening security and taking out private prosecutions as a deterrent, will the lawless shift their focus to routinely ransack residential homes?

Stanley Kubrick’s “social satire” A Clockwork Orange alluded to it in 1972, and in 1977, the Sex Pistols sang about Anarchy In The UK and how “it’s coming sometime”.

Watching those  men brazenly ransacking Boots, it feels like it’s already here.

Cushions the blow

LIAM GALLAGHER says that if the problems at Manchester’s Co-Op Live arena aren’t fixed by June, he’ll play his four planned shows at the nearest Lidl instead.

Liam Gallagher has threatened to play four shows at a Lidl

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Liam Gallagher has threatened to play four shows at a LidlCredit: Getty

I’ve seen some sights in the legendary “middle aisle” but the former Oasis frontman belting out a few songs would surely surpass even the, er, must-have “fish cushion” or inflatable avocado with removable beach ball core.

Mona a clear winger in the style stakes

ASK the average person to name a style icon, and the chances are it would be Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana or Jackie Onassis.

All women synonymous with the word “elegance”.

With her exquisite butterfly gown, Mona Patel was my Met Gala top pick

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With her exquisite butterfly gown, Mona Patel was my Met Gala top pickCredit: Getty

And you can bet your Jimmy Choo boots that none of them would have popped to the shops in a crumpled bedsheet with their bum hanging out.

Yet when American rapper Doja Cat did just that at the weekend, her outfit was described as a “fashion statement”. Seriously?

The next day, she was at the Met Gala in what looked like the same sheet drenched in water. Words fail me.

The Met Gala started in 1948 as just another black-tie ball but has progressed/regressed (discuss) into the fashion event of the year.

Which, depending on your viewpoint, is an opportunity for the, ahem, “fashion forward” to showcase a highly stylised work of art . . . or a chance for a few Olympian-level show-offs to try to steal the headlines by wearing the most ludicrous outfit.

Singer Lana Del Rey had a fight with a mosquito net and lost, while Kim Kardashian’s implausibly small waistline suggested she’d left all her internal organs on her hall table.

Then there was Rita Ora in one of those beaded curtains from the “back room” of a dodgy strip joint.

Style isn’t solely about understatement.

I loved Gwendoline Christie’s dramatic look, and Eddie Redmayne wearing a skirt that matched wife Hannah’s dress was fun.

But for me, the timelessly elegant gowns donned by Phoebe Dynevor, Naomi Campbell, Kylie Jenner, Sydney Sweeney, Pamela Anderson and Kaia Gerber were the real winners in the style stakes, with top place going to businesswoman Mona Patel in her exquisite butterfly gown.

And it’s the bum’s rush for the gaudy headline grabbers.

Poll on

AS predicted, the deckchairs have been rearranged on the Titanic and Labour trounced the Tories in the local elections.

And at some point in the next few months, we have to go through it all again with a General Election.

Labour candidate Chris Webb holds his son Cillian Douglas Webb as he regains Blackpool South in the local elections

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Labour candidate Chris Webb holds his son Cillian Douglas Webb as he regains Blackpool South in the local electionsCredit: Getty

Baby Cillian Webb, whose dad Chris regained Blackpool South for Labour, speaks for us all.

“Is there much more of this?”

Liz not ‘appy

SKINCARE guru Liz Earle says she got blocked on a dating app for “impersonating” herself.

Probably because she put her correct age of 60 but, thanks to practising what she preaches for maintaining a youthful complexion, looks about 35.

No Mrs Angry, I rager

HERE are two photos of 60-year-old Peter Abbott.

In one, he looks like a mild-mannered geography teacher.

Peter Abbott, 60, looks like any other mild-mannered geography teacher

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Peter Abbott, 60, looks like any other mild-mannered geography teacherCredit: BNPS
Peter's face is contorted in a terrifying outburst of male rage after a female motorist dared to beep her horn at him

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Peter’s face is contorted in a terrifying outburst of male rage after a female motorist dared to beep her horn at himCredit: Ian Whittaker

In the other, his face is contorted in a terrifying outburst of male rage after a female motorist dared to beep her horn when he pulled out in front of her.

Banging on her window and bonnet, he called her a “tart”, “slag” and “whore”.

What a charmer.

Now he’s been warned he faces a spell in jail after being found guilty of threatening behaviour at Poole Magistrates’ Court, Dorset.

“It’s not against the law to be angry,” he mitigated, suggesting zero remorse.

Firstly, let’s hope the sentencing includes a course of anger management.

And secondly, it’s unclear whether there’s a Mrs Abbott, but if so, God help her.

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