"We will restore the rule of law on Britain’s high streets and in our town centres.” 

That is the pledge from Great Yarmouth's Labour parliamentary candidate Keir Cozens as he visited a Caister shop whose staff and shoppers have faced unprecedented levels of shoplifting and violence.

Mr Cozens, along with Labour's House of Lords leader Baroness Angela Smith, visited the High Street Co-op on Friday to discuss people's experiences on the frontline.

According to recent data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), incidents of customer theft have risen to a record 16.7 million, up from 8 million the previous year. The BRC estimates the cost to retailers last year was £1.8b, up from £950m and the highest amount on record.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Co-op Daily on Caister High Street.The Co-op Daily on Caister High Street. (Image: Google)Shop workers have also been impacted, with incidents of violence and abuse of shop workers soaring by 50pc over the past year. 

The BRC estimates a staggering 1,300 incidents each day last year of racial abuse, sexual harassment, physical assaults and threats with weapons. 

Mr Cozens backed Labour’s plan to tackle soaring rates of shoplifting by reversing the decision by the Conservative Government in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to downgrade the police response to the theft of items worth less than £200.

Under the act, any incidents involving goods below £200 would have to be tried as summary-only offences, leading to many defendants avoiding court appearances and pleading guilty by post and paying a small fine instead. 

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Keir Cozens, Great Yarmouth's Labour parliamentary candidate.Keir Cozens, Great Yarmouth's Labour parliamentary candidate. (Image: Keir Cozens)Labour has pledged to tackle crime across England and Wales by reintroducing neighbourhood policing with 13,000 more police and PCSOs on the streets, including a named officer to lead on tackling anti-social behaviour. 

Mr Cozens said: “Under the Tories too many communities and high streets across Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and the villages are being blighted by staggering increases in shoplifting, up 30 per cent in the last year alone. 

“Britain cannot afford more damaging decline from the Conservatives on crime and justice. Labour will restore the rule of law on Britain’s high streets and in our town centres.”