HUNDREDS of crimes were carried out in pharmacies across Sussex in one year.

Figures from Sussex Police show 677 incidents were reported to have taken place throughout 2016.

Most cases, 558, involved shoplifting but there were also 21 burglaries and robberies.

Police also recorded 14 violent crimes, three of which involved injuries.

The figures were published through Freedom of Information requests made to every police force in the country from community pharmacy publication Chemist+Druggists (C+D).

Across the 35 police authorities that provided data to C+D, there were 291 cases of violent crime – including arson – in pharmacies.

Ian Strachan, chairman of independent pharmacy membership body the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), said it is also becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of crime faced by pharmacists and their staff.

He said: “The nature of the pharmacy business, coupled with its prominent but very necessary position on our high streets, means it can often be an attractive target for criminals.”

The NPA will discuss C+D’s findings with pharmacy minister Steve Brine.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “No one should suffer abuse for doing their job and we take all reports of assaults on staff at shops, including pharmacies, very seriously.

“We encourage anyone who has been a victim while working in a shop to report it.

“Anyone with information about crimes in Sussex can report it online at”

Forces around the country reported a wide range of weapons used to threaten pharmacists and their staff.

The Sussex Police response did not give details but in other parts of the UK there were reports of people using firearms, blades, screwdrivers and walking sticks.

There was also a gun-shaped lighter and a golf umbrella was used to threaten staff by people trying to steal make-up.

C+D asked each police authority a series of five questions.

These included the total number of crimes committed in pharmacies in 2016 and how many of these were incidents of shoplifting.

It also asked how many were burglaries or robberies and how many were violent crimes, including arson.

The final question asked for details of the crimes themselves.

This included the date, time, any weapons used, injuries and products or items targeted and whether there had been any suspects arrested or cautioned in relation to the crime.