CO-OP shoppers were stunned to discover new chocolate policies at some stores – were you affected?
Supermarket delicacies, all retailing for £2 or less, are currently locked on shelves.
An increase in supermarket thefts amid the cost of living crisis has led to many items being tagged with security or advertised as “just for show”.
But now, for the first time, chocolate cannot be easily purchased at the Blackhorse Lane Co-op branch in Walthamstow, London.
One store employee said it was a necessary measure, he told Online email: “We had to do it for the thieves.
“Things like coffee, even chocolate have been stolen a lot, that’s why we’re doing this.
“Now if you want to buy something in a box, you have to bring it to us and we can get it for you.”
Other shocking items include the Heinz Ketchup, which is now half off on store shelves.
They attached a note that said: “Only visible.”
Honey, coffee, dishwashing liquid and allergy medicine have also been locked down.
And, essential toiletries like sunscreen, at the Co-op in Manor House, north LondonAlso being packed in a secure box.
Moisturizers and other hygiene products are protected from thieves by thick boxes and bags with GPS tags.
A Co-op spokesperson said: “Protecting the safety of our colleagues is a top priority and we know shop theft can be a tipping point for violence against employees. store staff, so while this is not a national policy, the decision to implement product security measures will be made, if a store is experiencing a particular problem.”
This comes as hundreds of people have turned to essentials in recent months to feed their families as the cost of living crisis continues to escalate.
“With the cost of living, one has to start making choices,” the one-store owner told the trade magazine The Grocer.
Food poverty expert and Ulster University lecturer Dr Sinéad Furey said: “The return to ‘stealing to eat’ rather than being able to afford to eat is proof that we need solutions. policies so that criminals do not become the main means of securing basic necessities. “
Meanwhile, staff at the Addiction Treatment Team UK have seen a “terrible” increase in people seeking help to quit shoplifting.
Addiction and rehabilitation centers have received an average of 30 calls per week this year compared with just 10 calls per month in 2022.
And, the British Retail Consortium says cases of theft are skyrocketing.
There were 7.9 million last year – up 5 million in 2016/17.
This means that costs for retailers over the period rose from £503 million to £953 million.
Many supermarket giants are now looking for further security measures.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, Director of the Center for Retail Research, said supermarkets wanted to install facial recognition cameras so they could quickly find problematic shoppers.