Tesco locks chilled meats fridge to prevent shoplifting during crisis
This practice is becoming more common across UK supermarkets as prices skyrocket and people continue to struggle to make ends meet.
Sausages and bacon have been padlocked in fridges by Tesco to prevent shoplifting at their Express branch in Bermondsey, south of London.
A notice was taped to the fridge stating the reason it was locked was to “protect stock and availability” and requested customers to ask a store associate for assistance if they wanted to purchase sausage or bacon.
Consumer expert Jane Hawkes expressed how "very worrying" that supermarkets like Tesco are having to turn to "locking away produce to prevent shoplifting during the cost of living crisis.”
She underlined how common this practice is becoming as both prices skyrocket and “the number of those struggling to make ends meet rises”. The Tesco shop in Bermondsey later removed the locks and the taped notice as this was not a decision made by its head office.
Crime rates increase across supermarkets
There are fears that the extremely-high inflation prediction will fuel higher crime rates and theft. For example, UK supermarket Asda placed security tags to Lurpak as the price of butter rose last summer.
Retail expert Clive Black stated: “Supermarkets are having to deploy a lot of people and technology to meet the shoplifting challenge," adding that “with inflation comes hardship for some and shoplifting becomes part of getting by while, for the less scrupulous, higher prices mean opportunity.”
Theft crimes increased across the industry by 16% in the three months to last October, according to a Freedom of Information cited and requested by The Telegraph. Data from 20 police forces recorded 10,019 cases, up from 8,602 in July with Tesco and Sainsbury's accounting for two-fifths of the calls and proving to be the most frequent targets.
According to Sainsbury's, the second-largest supermarket chain in the UK, people were rationing eating outside and preferred to eat at home to try and lower monthly consumption costs to embrace the looming impact of skyrocketing energy bills during the winter.
In November, the cost of grocery shopping for UK residents has hit a staggering £682 rise per year compared to the same period last year, and around a £40 increase from the month prior, according to a report by Kantar Worldpanel.
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