Tesco starts security tagging shopping baskets to combat spiralling thefts

Supermarkets are no longer just security tagging steaks and single malt whiskies now at Tesco they have begun slapping tags on their shopping baskets.

With the cost-of-living crisis causing a rise in food theft, supermarket shoppers have seen all sorts of items security tagged— including milk, butter, meat, and bars of chocolate.

But at least one Tesco store in Theydon Bois, Essex has begun tagging their shopping baskets after a spate of thefts

The measure comes just days after one branch in Bristol was checking customers on CCTV before letting them in the door in a “nightclub-style door policy”.

The Bristol branch has also moved their shopping baskets away from the doors to stop thieves piling them up with shopping and running out.

One shopper in the Essex village, James Beach, 45, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw they had stuck tags on shopping baskets – I mean, what are you going to do with one of them?

“Is there nothing these people won’t nick?”

He added: “I spoke to one of the staff and she said they’d had loads of thefts so they were tagging the baskets now to try and deter people.”

Tesco has been approached for comment.

It came as a Labour said the Conservatives “shoplifter’s charter” has seen charging for the offence plummet even as store thefts increase.

Security tags attached to the bottom of a shopping baskets in Theydon Bois. (SWNS)

Although many types of theft have declined since the start of 2020, shoplifting has continued to rise with more than 402,000 offences committed in the year to September 2023 – equivalent to one every 80 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party said figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed charges for shoplifting had fallen by around 16% since 2018.

The party has partly blamed the increase on a decision in 2014 to bring in a new category of “low-value shoplifting” covering the theft of items worth under £200 in total.

The change, brought in by then-home secretary Theresa May, was intended to allow the police to deal with these offences by post, speeding up the process and giving the courts more time to focus on other crimes.

It was not meant to apply to repeat offenders or those working as part of an organised gang.

But Labour and others, including the British Retail Consortium, have argued that in reality it has led to the police “deprioritising” such offences.


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