Police have arrested a number of people for shoplifting offences across the Black Country. 

West Midlands Police said they have seven people in custody today (Sunday, April 14) for the shoplifting-related crimes including a 38-year-old man who has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing a security guard with a needle. 

Officers said the incident happened yesterday (Saturday, April 13) at a superstore in Tipton when the man was trying to steal alcohol. 

Other unrelated arrests include a 42-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman who are in custody after threatening staff with a knife at a shoe shop in Walsall town centre when confronted for non-payment of a pair of trainers. 

Another man assaulted shop staff in a convenience shop in West Bromwich on Tuesday (April 9) when challenged for taking meat without payment. 

Police said he ran from the shop but was arrested by officers at his home address this morning (Sunday, April 14). 

A 30-year-old woman was seen on CCTV trying to make off without paying for goods at a store in Walsall and was found to be wanted for failure to attend a mandatory drug test. 

Two others are a 60-year-old woman suspected of stealing £300 worth of cosmetics in Tipton and a 42-year-old man who concealed bedding before leaving a store in Wolverhampton and was arrested in Birmingham the same day. 

Shoplifting has hit its highest level for two decades nationally with thefts from shops and stalls increasing by 32 per cent in the year up to September 2023. 

An upcoming bill in parliament will see assaulting shop staff made a specific criminal offence. 

Under the proposed new law, perpetrators could be sent to prison for up to six months, receive an unlimited fine and be banned from going back to the shop where they committed their crimes with criminal behaviour orders (CBOs) barring them from visiting specific premises.

If they breach these CBOs, they can be sentenced to five years in prison. 

For the most serious cases of assault, such as causing grievous bodily harm with intent, offenders could face a lengthy sentence.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: "We fully understand the impact and frustration of shoplifting on businesses of all sizes, it's a crime which can affect livelihoods.
"As part of our more local policing model, our teams across investigations, neighbourhood and response are now working closer together to prevent and tackle crimes which impact on our communities.
"Using local officer knowledge and working with store security, we are able to identify suspects, and any emerging trends or hotspots quicker.
"We routinely carry out regular high visibility patrols in retail areas, along with other activity, to trace and catch offenders."