Belfast named as the top food-thieving student city, with Norwich being the most trustworthy, according to survey

63% of 18 to 24 year-olds say they've had food stolen, compared with only 25% of 55 to 64 year-olds who say they had in their student days

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The Independent Online

You come home after a long day of lectures and seminars, open the fridge to make a snack but, alas, your food’s disappeared. Sound all too familiar?

If it does, students in Belfast had better keep their precious snacks and meals under lock, key, and guard as the city has been named the worst for food-thievery, with a staggering 71 per cent admitting to pinching their flatmates’ food.

A survey by refrigeration experts, Husky Retail, polled 1,000 students to find serial food pilferers are at an all-time high in the UK and Republic of Ireland – with young people resorting to extreme measures to seek revenge on their light-fingered housemates.

Booby trap methods included ‘putting laxatives in food or licking food’, ‘replacing milk with white paint’, and ‘disguising a bottle of beer as salted water’.

Overall, 44 per cent of UK students acknowledged to having had food stolen from their cupboards or fridge by housemates whilst at university, with another 12 per cent turning to booby traps to prevent them.

63 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds said they had been left with a bare fridge shelf, compared with only 25 per cent of 55 to 64 year-olds who said they had thieving housemates when they were students.

Male students came out as being the worst, with 47 per cent more likely to ‘borrow’ food, while only 41 per cent of female students admitted to the act.

Mini fridges in bedrooms emerged as a frequent pattern to store chilled foods as milk (62%), butter (36%), and cheese (35%) all came out as some of the most common items to be stolen.

Students in Norwich emerged as the most trustworthy, with only 32 per cent claiming to have had food taken from their fridge.

Marketing manager at Husky, Lorraine Price, said she found it “very interesting” to see how food-stealing habits have risen over time.

Giving students one piece of sage advice, she added: “It’s unsurprising they are resorting to keeping their own fridge in their bedrooms.

“A mini fridge will keep students food safe and prevent them from having to set up a booby trap to protect their food.”