Sheffield pensioners are being pushed so far below the poverty line they are being forced into a life of crime, according to expert, Dr Robert Jeffrey, sociologist at Sheffield Hallam University. He said that rising levels of inequality are leaving many pensioners with no choice but to shoplift.
Crimes committed by pensioners in the city had soared by 25 per cent in three years But the most common offence by far was shoplifting - 43 per cent of all crimes by pensioners.
Dr Jeffrey said: “These statistics come as no surprise. As a sociologist of class and inequality I am well aware of the rising levels of poverty in the United Kingdom. More and more pensioners are being pushed below the poverty line. Age UK estimate that 1.6 million pensioners – or one in seven – are below the poverty line. It’s highly likely that pensioners are shoplifting out of poverty – even our previous Chief Constable, David Crompton, acknowledged back in 2013 that increasing shoplifting was linked to austerity and unemployment.”
Dr Jeffrey said: “The UK has become an increasingly unfair society, and rising inequality has been accompanied by declining social mobility. “Food and fuel vouchers and targeted assistance for the elderly might help tackle this particular problem, but ultimately I think only greater equality and redistribution of income can help tackle the many social problems we are now facing.”