Shropshire Star

Toby Neal on politics: A cost of living crisis or just plain stealing?

Popping along to a local garden centre – to go to the cafe, obviously, the weather at the time preventing any meaningful activity in the garden – the entrance door was firmly shut.

Shoplifting secrets

There was a notice on it. "There has been so much shoplifting and so many people have been using this door to nick our stuff, that we have had to close it permanently. Please use the alternative entrance," it read.

Those were not the exact words, which I forget, but it was the meaning.

Now, we have all heard of the trials of austerity Britain, but I suspect things are not yet so bad that the culprits are resorting to eating dahlias and petunias they have nicked from garden centres. And if they have gardens in which to put stolen garden ornaments, they are unlikely to be as hard up as all that.

So the explanation is likely to be much simpler, that they are not the economically downtrodden reacting in desperation to crushing deprivation – they are just thieves. It must be a tough time to be a shopkeeper.

Reading notices on doors and windows when out and about can be unexpectedly interesting.

The routine ones are those that say they have closed down, or have moved to a new location.