Penalty fines for shoplifting have reportedly led to a big increase in the crime, retailers have said.
Introduced in 2004, police could issue the fixed £80 notices instead of an arrest for first-time offences and thefts of goods worth less than £200.
But the British Retail Consortium (BRC) says the fines encourage serial shoplifters who know they will not face serious charges if they are caught.
BRC spokesman Richard Dodd said: "Too many retailers feel police don't take retail crime seriously - it is way, way down on their list of priorities. At government level sentencing is so weak that people are just not put off stealing from shops.
"A lot of these are people who are repeatedly stealing in order to fund a drug habit and they believe, unfortunately rightly, that there will be no serious sanction on them if they are caught."
Shoplifting cost the British economy £2 billion last year alone, according to the BRC.
Justice Secretary Lord Falconer said shoplifting was being tackled and it could even be punished by up to seven years in jail.
But he indicated earlier this month that current prison sentences for people who commit acquisitive crime, such as shoplifting or burglary, may be too long.
Who's fucking idea was it to introduce these fines in the first place? That fucking cunt Adolf Blair himself, that's who!