The number of alcohol thefts from licensed premises in East Lothian has risen by nearly 40 per cent this year.

East Lothian Licensing Board heard that violent crime increased in all of its towns last year but that the number of incidents involving pubs and shops had fallen.

However, a Police Scotland report revealed reported crimes relating to licensed premises so far this year had already overtaken last year’s total figure with more than half involving theft of alcohol from shops.

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The board was told that, between April 2022 and March 2023, there were 145 recorded incidents at licensed venues including 69 shop thefts.

Since April this year, police had already recorded 162 incidents including 94 thefts.

Police told the board: “Thefts from shops is a real issue at the moment.”

The police report revealed there were a total of 1,050 violent acts recorded in East Lothian last year  – an increase of just under 16 per cent.

They included seven attempted murders, 32 serious assaults, 12 robberies and 999 common assaults which included 67 assaults on police officers and 10 assaults on retail workers.

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Across the county’s towns, the biggest increase in violent acts was in North Berwick which saw a 61 per cent rise from 36 incidents in 2021/22 to 58 last year.

Prestonpans saw an increase of 21.5 per cent from 149 to 181, Haddington a 15.5 per cent increase from 129 to 149, Dunbar a 13.6 per cent increase from 88 to 100, Tranent 11.7 per cent from 197 to 220 and Musselburgh 6.2 per cent from 308 to 327.

A total of 23 crimes of violence were recorded for licensed premises within East Lothian during 2022-23.