Value retailer Home Bargains has taken an innovative approach to in-store theft by launching an online campaign to identify suspected shoplifters.

On its website the retailer has added a tab entitled ‘crime busters’, featuring pictures of suspected criminals in its shops along with the date and location of the alleged crime.

The retailer is offering a reward of up to £500 to anyone who offers information that leads to the arrest and successful prosecution of a shoplifter.

Home Bargains operations director Joe Morris said theft costs his business millions of pounds a year. Morris said: “Retail shrinkage is a big issue and we’re trying to address it as efficiently as we can. We’re a discount retailer and are only successful by keeping our costs under control. This is a way of fighting back. It shows the shoplifters we know what’s going on.”

Home Bargains launched the initiative last month after discussing with police how best to handle the problem.

Morris said: “We discussed putting posters of suspects up in our shop windows, then thought we’d take it a step further and put it on our website as well.”

So far the retailer has not received any information that has led to an arrest. Morris believes that ultimately a £500 reward “should pay for itself” when catching “hardened” thieves.

He added that Home Bargains also prosecutes through the police and the civil courts and maintained all retailers should mount civil action against shoplifters. “We need to have a united front,” he said. Data from the Centre for Retail Research shows shrinkage cost retailers overall more than £4.5bn last year.

Home Bargains, which has 190 stores, is poised to open 30 more in the next six months as it takes advantage of attractive property deals. “Trading has never been better,” said Morris.