All shoplifting offences will be investigated, police have reassured residents, following reports that they will not send out officers to deal with shoplifters who steal less than £100 worth of goods.

National newspaper reports published last week said that Thames Valley Police officers told residents of Hungerford, Berkshire, that austerity cuts meant the response to crimes would need to be prioritised.

The comments were said to have been made by a police officer addressing a Hungerford Town Council meeting. 

The force has now hit back at the stories, reassuring residents that all reports are investigated. 

A statement released by police said: "The Force would like to reassure communities that all reports of shoplifting are investigated – regardless of the value of goods stolen.

"In cases in which there is an immediate threat, such as a shoplifter becoming violent, the public can be assured that officers will be there for who need help.

"Our neighbourhood officers continue to work closely with businesses across our communities to help owners keep their businesses safe from all types of crime."

Incidents can be reported through the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.