British Priest OKs Shoplifting Desperate should steal from chains, not small stores, he says By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Dec 22, 2009 2:51 AM CST 15 comments Comments Shoplifting is acceptable "if one has exhausted every legal opportunity to get money and you're still in a desperate situation," Jones said. (Shutter Stock) (Newser) – Shoplifting is no sin for people facing hard times, a British priest has declared to his congregation. Society's attitude toward the poor sometimes leaves them no option but to turn to crime, and shoplifting is better than "prostitution, mugging or burglary," said Father Tim Jones. He said that the poor, however, should steal from large chains, not small family businesses, reports the Independent "Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift," Jones told his congregation in northern England. "The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are. Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt." Police described his sermon as "highly irresponsible."