Choclifting! Co-op have resorted to removing chocolates from their boxes and displaying empty packets in bid to stop shoplifters
- Empty Ferrero Rocher and Lindt boxes have been pictured at south London store
Co-op has resorted to removing chocolates from their boxes and displaying empty packets in a bid to stop shoplifters.
Dummy packets of Ferrero Rocher, empty jars of Nescafe, and multipacks of John West tuna caged in security cases have been snapped at one south London store.
The supermarket retailer put some of its selected lines under lock and key to stop organised gangs from swiping products from shelves amid a rise in shoplifting.
Other products in empty boxes include Lindt chocolates and Fairy liquid with a sign telling shops to ask a member of staff for the product.
It comes after Waitrose revealed organised gangs are targeting stores along Tube routes, while Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Aldi are searching shoppers using self service tills amid a rise in thefts.
And Dunelm has locked up duvets and pillowcases in PIN-code protected cabinets.
The Co-op has resorted to removing chocolates from their boxes and displaying empty packets in a bid to stop shoplifters
An empty box of Ferrero Rocher on the shelf of a south London Co-op store
Kate McCrae Graham, Director of Operations, Co-op, said: ‘Crime in many communities is increasing, and it is known that repeat and prolific offenders and, local organised criminal gangs are driving serious incidents of brazen and violent theft in stores.
READ MORE: The secret shoplifting getaway map: Waitrose boss reveals organised crime gangs are targeting Tube routes
‘It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and often a flashpoint for the unacceptable attacks and abuse towards my colleagues.
‘Co-op continues to invest significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe. This includes the latest CCTV; body-worn cameras, undercover guarding and, extending our use of dummy – anti-theft – display cases to deter the incidents of “bulk-shoplifting” or, “looting”, as it has been described.
‘This isn’t a victim-less crime, as my store colleagues who have been verbally abused and had knives and syringes pulled on them can vouch for, but it is seemingly a consequence-less crime.
‘While we are doing all we can, we also need the police to play their part as too often Forces fail to respond to desperate calls by our store teams and criminals operate in communities without any fear of consequences.’
Last week, MailOnline revealed shoplifting gangs are targeting shops along Tube routes and road networks before stealing items to order. But Co-op said the problem wasn’t restricted to around Tube stations for their stores.
An empty jar of Nescafe. Shoppers are instructed to take the product to a staff member who will then give them the full item
Co-op has put some of its selected lines under lock and key to stop organised gangs from swiping products from shelves
Other products in empty boxes include Lindt chocolates and Fairy liquid with a sign telling shops to ask a member of staff for the product
The move is designed to stop bulk-shoplifting and rising levels of crime in the city as looters
Lucy Brown, director of security for the John Lewis Partnership, said the surge in shoplifting was due the rise of organised criminals rather than the cost of living crisis.
READ MORE: Home furnishing giant Dunelm hides bedclothes in PIN-protected cabinets as England suffers rise in shoplifting
Retail thefts have risen by 27 per cent year on year across ten of the UK’s largest cities – and were up by 68 per cent in some, the British Retail Consortium found.
The trade body added that incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff have nearly doubled from more than 450 per day in 2019/2020 to more than 850 last year – with crimes including racial or sexual abuse, assault and threats with weapons.
Ms Brown, who oversees security at both Waitrose and John Lewis, told MailOnline: ‘Some shops are targeted every day, others several times a day. And we’re fortunate because we’re not the worst hit,’ she said.
‘We’ve seen a real increase post-Covid. We don’t believe it’s linked to the cost of living. You have people living chaotic lives with substance abuse who are stealing to fund their habits.
‘Another major problem – which is new – are organised criminal gangs. They spend as much time shoplifting as we do on our normal jobs. They will target Tube routes, road networks and steal to order.
‘There have been gangs operating across north London going from shop to shop and threatening teams with violence.
Customers have found themselves under ‘close inspection’ following an increase in the number of bag checks at certain stores before leaving the premises.
Pictures showed Dunelm storing its more expensive bedding away in giant glass cupboards, which need to be opened by a staff member
‘The stuff they target tends to be whatever has the highest retail value on the black market.
‘That includes alcohol in Waitrose, and in John Lewis portable tech and high-value dental products like [electric] toothbrushes.
‘It’s high value, easy to carry and easy to dispose of. Another thing is high-value fragrances like Tom Ford.’
Ms Brown said the John Lewis Partnership – which runs both John Lewis and Waitrose – has been investing heavily in its store security.
Meanwhile, shoppers at major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Aldi are reporting heightened security measures in UK stores such as bag searches after using self-service checkouts following a rise in shoplifting.
Customers claim they have found themselves under ‘close inspection’ following an increase in the number of bag checks at certain stores before leaving the premises.
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