Bramley, UK -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/22/2014 -- Shoppers are stealing more than £1.6 billion worth of items from supermarkets every year as frustration with self service tills leads to theft, a survey found.
Fruit and vegetables are the most likely items to be taken, as shoppers confess to stealing on average £15 worth each of goods every month from self scanners.
One in five people admit pilfering items at the checkout, but the results suggest people steal regularly once they realise they can get away with it – the majority admitting they first took goods because they couldn’t work the machines.
Crispian Strachan, former chief constable of Northumbria Police and tutor at Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology, said stealing from self service tills is no different from hiding goods in a handbag or taking a purse from a table.
“The method of observation at a self-service till may be more of a temptation than being watched by someone,” he said.
The survey asked 2,834 people aged 16 and over about their shopping habits and use of self service checkouts. Just over 19 per cent admitted stealing from self service checkouts with the majority saying they did so regularly. Around 57 per cent of these said they first started taking goods because they couldn’t get an item to scan.
Karen Clarke, Spokesperson for VoucherBadger which conducted the survey, said "The results are rather shocking but not that surprising given the economy and wider money worries that a lot of people have nowadays".
When asked why they stole items 32 per cent said they realised they didn’t have enough money to pay for the goods while 41 per cent said the machines were easier to fool.
Mr Charles added: “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.
“It’s not worth getting into trouble with the police over the matter of a few pieces of fruit and veg.”
The latest crime survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found theft reached its highest level in nine years last year, with the average value increasing to £177 per incident.
VoucherBadge, based in England, United Kingdom, is a consumer research and behavioural analysis company, for small- and medium-sized businesses across the UK and Europe. Our online services focus on business to consumer and business to business (B2B) communications.