WEST Mercia Police's deputy commissioner has hit out at business crime.

Barrie Sheldon says too many retailers are suffering from theft, making their survival hopes tougher.

It follows figures showing how business crime cost the UK £511 million in 2013.

Mr Sheldon said: "Businesses are at the heart of our communities, providing jobs and boosting the economy.

"But crime can have a major effect, reducing profitability, increasing the fear of crime and in extreme cases, threatening the livelihood of the businesses and their staff.

"Last year the direct cost of retail crime was £511 million nationally.

"We are committed to do all we can to help local businesses thrive and I am pleased that we are well down the line of developing a strategy, in conjunction with businesses to address the extent and impact of it."