THE number of shoplifting incidents in Burnley in the run up to Christmas was at a seven-year low, new figures have revealed.

In November and December 2012, 121 thefts were reported compared to 214 in 2004.

The reduction was proof that measures taken in the town to reduce shoplifting were working, a council spokesman said.

Colin Hill, head of facilities management at Burnley Council, said: “The positive reduction in these figures has been achieved through proactive measures and continuing good liaison with the police.

“We have been operating a radio retailer scheme for many years and we are continuing this successful scheme alongside our active use of CCTV and good security procedures undertaken by the Charter Walk Shopping Centre.”

Although figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, were not available for 2013, the number of food-related thefts increased last year, police said.

Despite several luxury items, such as perfumes, digital cameras and designer headphones being taken, there were numerous thefts of essential, every day products, including baby clothes, food and children’s toys. A police spokesperson said: “Some areas have seen increases in general shoplifting and, as part of that, we have seen examples of basic food items being stolen, which is a slight change from what we have seen previously.

“While we aren’t drawing any specific conclusions from this, it may be possible that social pressures are one of the many potentially contributing factors.”

In Blackburn, the number of shoplifting incidents was at a five-year high, having increased 35 per cent from 2007 to 2012.

Thefts in Colne were also at their highest level for years, having increased from 27 in 2007, to 63 in 2012. Elsewhere in the county, shops in Accrington, Darwen, Bacup, Burnley, and Nelson saw the least amount of items stolen since 2007.