Not placing items bagging area: Nearly one in five self-service supermarket customers steals goods

 

More than £1.6bn worth of groceries and other goods are being stolen every year by supermarket customers using self-service tills, according to a new survey.

The survey found that 19 per cent of shoppers confessed to stealing at checkouts. An average of £15 worth of produce a month was taken, with fruit and vegetables the most commonly stolen items.

Some 57 per cent of the thieves said they started taking things for free because the tills did not work and then took more goods when realised they could get away with it.

The survey, reported by The Daily Telegraph, interviewed more than 2,600 people about their shopping habits.

George Charles, a spokesman for VoucherCodesPro.co.uk which carried out the survey, said he was “sure most of those who now admit to stealing via self-service checkouts didn't initially set out to do so”.

“They may have forgotten to scan something and quickly realised how easy it could be to take items without scanning them,” he said.

“Supermarkets need to increase the number of staff who monitor the self-scan checkouts, even though the point of these checkouts is to reduce the need for staff, as well as increase their security measures to ensure this comes to an end.”

Mr Charles also advised customers that it was “not worth getting into trouble with the police over the matter of a few pieces of fruit and veg”.

Crispian Strachan, of Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology, said that the “method of observation at a self-service till may be more of a temptation than being watched by someone”.

“Shop theft has often been thought of as a victimless crime,” he said. “What people have always done is rationalise it to themselves as something that 'nobody will notice' anyway, but I don't see it like that. These costs are passed onto the store and the tax payer.”

The British Retail Consortium last year said thefts were at the highest level in nine years, but it estimated that the cost to retailers was much lower at £511m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor