Amersham residents have demanded action from police over recent violent robberies and shoplifting.

It comes after thieves targeted the Londis in Chesham Bois, hitting the owner of the shop in the head with an axe, while just days earlier a shopkeeper at the Ivy Stores in Amersham was robbed at knifepoint.

Thames Valley Police has made several arrests, however local people have called for the force to do more to tackle shoplifting and robberies generally.

The Amersham & District Residents Association (ADRA) has written an open letter about the recent crimes to the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, who is up for re-election on May 2.

Other recipients included Thames Valley Police, Buckinghamshire Council’s leader Martin Tett and chief executive Rachael Shimmin and the local MP Sarah Green.

READ MORE: New mile-long road to cost £147 MILLION, Buckinghamshire Council says

The letter reads: “What actions are being taken to help local businesses tackle shoplifting in Amersham and the surrounding villages?

“Can you also reassure shoppers that local policing is in place to deter shoplifting and violent robbery?”

Thames Valley Police has been approached for comment on the letter, signed by ADRA’s chairman Peter Matza.

Data shows that shoplifting offences per 1,000 people in Thames Valley rose by 15 per cent in the year ending March 2023.

However, it is not just a local problem – during the same period England and Wales saw a 24 percent rise in shoplifting.

Mr Matza spoke of the issue in his letter, saying: “We understand that Buckinghamshire has seen a large increase in shoplifting over the past year.

“In Amersham, staff in some local stores report that shoplifting happens ‘on a daily basis’ and that the situation has been getting worse in recent months.

“Staff say that the police are ‘just not interested’ or that this problem ‘is not being taken seriously’.”

He added: “Our local community has been shocked by the recent violent robberies in Londis, Chesham Bois and at Ivy Stores, Plantation Road, Amersham. While these violent incidents are thankfully rare, shoplifting is not.”

Thames Valley Police has promised to crack down on shoplifting in recent months and in January launched its new ‘retail crime strategy’ to tackle the issue.

Developed with business owners and retail groups, the strategy aims to cut retail crime and violence towards shop workers.

The plan includes creating a business crime team to strengthen investigations and identify repeat offenders, as well as increasing the visible presence of police officers and police community support officers in retail spaces.

Mr Barber said: “Many people see retail crime as a victimless crime, but it has a profound impact on retail staff, customers and the wider economy.”