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Shoplifting on the rise: Boots’ store takes baby formula off shelves to prevent theft


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It is estimated that consumer shoplifting rose by up to 37 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous year  

As shoplifting rates increase in Britain, retailers are forced to look for various tactics to deter thieves.

For example, the Boots’ store in Purley, South London has taken some “vital” products off its shelves and moved them out of reach from shoplifters, GB News reported.

The retailer removed baby formula and other popular products, costing up to £19, after experts warned of shoplifters looking to sell the items on dodgy outlets or to buyers abroad.

Some thieves mix the powder with drugs, as suggested by the report.

Customers are now required to take paper photocopies to the counter to purchase the goods from the store.

Some retailers are using dummy displays, locked cabinets, and more sophisticated tagging to prevent shoplifting, while others are investing in staff training and more sophisticated guarding.

Emmeline Taylor, professor of criminology at City, University of London, recognised that retailers are forced to create ‘Fortress Stores’ in some of their hardest hit locations.

Professor Taylor told The Sun that the cost-of-living crisis was partly to be blamed for soaring shoplifting rates.

Last month, Boots revealed that often use security tags on products or replace items identified as “most at risk” with empty boxes or cut outs to prevent theft.

The British health and beauty retail giant has been demanding tougher action to combat shoplifters and violence against its workers.

Consumer shoplifting is estimated to have risen by up to 37 per cent in 2023 compared to the year before, as revealed by Project Pegasus, a collaborative scheme enforced by a number of UK retailers, including Boots.

The Centre for Retail Research said thieves have become aware that retail crime is fairly risk free and that shopkeepers cannot detain a thief unless there is a good prospect that the police will turn up and make an arrest.

As police have failed to respond to most cases, thieves have become aware that retail crime is fairly risk free, the Centre for Retail Research told GB News.

Moreover, retailers do not want their employees to be harmed by contact with aggressive and often-violent shoplifters, it added.  

Nemesh Patel, Managing Director of the Southdowns Pharmacy Group, told Pharmacy Business that the problem has “certainly exacerbated”, and their high street pharmacies have been impacted by shoplifting regularly over the past two years.

To mitigate this worrying issue, they have to stop selling perfumes and other high value lines in one of their pharmacies, he said.

Patel also believes the cost of living crisis has contributed to the increase in shoplifting cases in the UK.





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