Police in Devon and Cornwall have told shopkeepers that they aren't interested in attending shoplifting incidents. If shoplifters under the age of 18 are caught they should be released after the goods have been retrieved and their parents should be called. They should not, however, report the crime.
A Devon and Cornwall Police inspector admitted resources were “finite” and that shoplifting would be assessed as a “lower priority” during periods of high demand. However, it seems that increasingly with police forces [not just Devon and Cornwall] there is 'high demand' all the time and shoplifting isn't addressed at all.
Technically, anyone caught shoplifting goods with a value under £200 can face up to six months in prison, while larger thefts can result in a jail term of up to seven years.