CRIME in West Mercia decreased by four per cent in the past year.

Between April 2013 and March this year, there were 58,010 crimes recorded in the region, compared with 60,551 the previous year, with the greatest drop seen in robbery, which was down 15 per cent at 347 incidents.

Police recorded 2,552 incidents of domestic burglary – a drop of 12 per cent – while possession of weapons dropped by 11 per cent to 312 and violence in which the victim was injured fell by 10 per cent to 5,827.

However, incidents of shoplifting were up 12 per cent, with 6,375 incidents recorded in the past 12 months, while vehicle crime such as joyriding increased by seven per cent to 6,324.

Sexual offences were also up four per cent, with 1,281 cases reported in the last year: police put this down to the effect of Operation Yewtree, the national police investigation into sexual abuse allegations.

Incidents of theft increased by one per cent to 30,663.

Every other category of crime saw a drop, with public order offences, criminal damage and arson all falling by seven per cent, drug crimes and violence against people down by six per cent and overall burglary down five per cent.

Incidents of bicycle thefts decreased by three per cent, while violence in which the victim was not hurt fell by two per cent.

Non-domestic burglaries and theft from a person were down one per cent.

The figures released yesterday by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also showed 13 homicides were recorded in the region between 2013 and 2014, but did not detail how many there had been in previous years.

The report also showed police were called to 49,245 antisocial behaviour incidents in the last year – a 10 per cent decrease on the previous year – and that 263 of year’s offences involved a knife – an increase of four per cent on the previous year.

Overall crime in England and Wales fell by 14 per cent, with 7.3 million incidents reported in the past year.

The greatest decreases were seen in violence, which was down 20 per cent, and criminal damage, down 17 per cent.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “Crime statistics only tell part of the story about how we seek to protect the public from harm and there is much policing activity never captured through figures of this type.

“We are not complacent, but overall this has been another successful year which has seen further reductions in crime, resulting in fewer victims of crime.”

To report a crime, call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.