People stealing avocados from supermarket self-service checkouts by pretending they're carrots

Theft from supermarkets using self-service tills has doubled in past four years

The practice of switching foods at self-service tills is so common many people are reportedly unaware it is a crime
The practice of switching foods at self-service tills is so common many people are reportedly unaware it is a crime

Shoppers have reportedly found a way to scam supermarkets by passing expensive avocados off as cheap carrots at self-service tills.

The tactic was spotted by Emmeline Taylor, a senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of London, who said she first became aware of the trend in Australia but that it is happening in the UK as well.

Carrots are one of the cheapest vegetables in supermarkets, leading to some customers to purposely select the “carrots” option when weighing avocados on the electronic tills, thereby reducing the cost of their shopping.

Ms Taylor told The Times: “I was working with retailers to reduce shoplifting when one major supermarket discovered it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock.

“Puzzled by this development it looked into its inventories and found that in some cases customers were apparently purchasing 18kg of carrots in one go.

“Unfortunately this wasn’t a sudden switch to healthy eating, it was an early sign of a new type of shoplifter.”

She added that product switching was becoming so common that some shoppers in the UK were not aware it was a crime.

“This behaviour is perceived as cheating the system or a way of ‘gamifying’ an otherwise mundane routine,” she added.

Last year Britons stole £3.2bn worth of food from self-service tills, according to research from VoucherCodesPro.co.uk.

The research also claimed that theft from supermarkets using self-service tills had doubled over the past four years.

In 2013 City recruitment consultant Nicholas Long was found guilty of stealing up to £450 of groceries from Sainsbury’s by scanning every item through as loose onions.

The former international hockey player was sentenced to 180 hours community service and ordered to pay £250 costs.

Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in