A rise in business insurance claims has accompanied a sharp jump in crime as the outlook for the economy worsens, according to a study by insurance company Axa.
It says a 10% rise in crimes - everything from violent robberies to bricks through shop windows - has seen an 8% rise in the cost of the average insurance claim to £4,575.
The most common crime was breaking into locked offices, shops and factories - 3,502 instances with an average claim value of £3,315.
Next was arson - up 18.9%, averaging £39,155; and forcible or violent entry, the average cost of which ballooned nearly 90% to £6,187.
Axa's head of customer risk management, Doug Barnett, warned that rising prices will probably result in more crimes against stores and businesses. Firms suffered malicious damage or vandalism on 2,547 occasions, with each claim costing £2,144.
The survey showed Birmingham proportionately suffered the most number of crimes, followed by Northampton and Redhill in Surrey. Croydon and Northampton saw the crime instances more than double compared to last year, with Cambridge, Shrewsbury, south east London and Leeds all seeing rises of more than 50%.
© The Press Association 2008