More than 3.5 million people have admitted shoplifting in the past five years, according to new research. What do they take? For some it is an addiction, for others a job or a spur-of-the-moment thing, but hundreds of thousands of Brits do it each year, according to new research. Of those questioned, 2% said they had shoplifted by accident and had returned the goods, 6% said they had taken something by accident but had not returned it, and 1% admitted to deliberate shoplifting, equating to about 700,000 people a year. Each took an average of £105 of goods, according to the survey commissioned by Group 4 Securicor. Supermarkets are regarded as the easiest place for shoplifting by 21% of people, followed by garden and DIY centres. But what do they take? Top of the list are razor blades, according to the research. Followed by cosmetics, alcohol, toiletries, lingerie, CDs and DVDs. 'Gateway' crime Professor Martin Gill, director of the University of Leicester Scarman Centre, says what people steal can depend on whether it is for personal use or to sell. Razor blades, air fresheners, batteries, CDs, DVDs, electronic gaming and music equipment and alcohol are cited by offenders as good items to sell on, according to his research. Also cheese, meat and other foodstuffs, all of which can be exchanged for cash very quickly. And while there is no absolute rule, those who steal to sell on are likely to steal much larger quantities of product than those stealing for themselves. WHO, WHAT, WHY? A regular feature in the BBC News Magazine - aiming to answer some of the questions behind the headlines "It is no surprise that razor blades are top," he says. "They are expensive, also easy to conceal and sell on. Expensive toothbrushes are another popular item." He says the acronym CRAVED is used to explain the product characteristics most likely to influence a thief's decision about what to steal. It stands for concealable, removable, available, valued, enjoyed and disposable. Although the most commonly stolen items are razor blades, the survey suggests that on average the value of the single most expensive item that people have stolen is £35, while 5% of people have stolen items worth more than £50. Kevin Hawkins, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, says shoplifting remained a serious problem for retailers and society as a whole. "Retail crime has significant demoralising effects on shop owners and their staff, especially as theft is increasingly accompanied by violence, threats and verbal abuse. Shop theft is frequently a 'gateway' to more serious offences." "Just want to find out if there is this problem as much in Tanzania."