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Shoplifting rising and rising, have you ever witnessed it?

(78 Posts)
bikergran Mon 18-Sep-23 10:52:30

There seems to be a massive hike in shoplifting right now, with the Police not even bothering to attend to anything below £200 if I am right.

But have you ever seen anyone shoplifting? Did/would you say anything ? is it worth! saying anything?

I work in a well known Supermarket the theft would make your hair curl.

When I first started we had bit of training and what to look for ,to be honest I must have led a sheltered life!

Obviously I cannot out on here things we try and watch out for but it really opens your eyes.

Some people are prolific thieves, they will just walk in take(yes take not grab they walk round just like their doing bit of shopping) and out they go, they don't try to hide it or run as they know the security team are not supposed to chase/man handle them (not in our store anyway)

Its not always food, it can be Shark hoovers, tvs, other smaller but high end items that they can hide. Known as stealing to order.

When I was young maybe about 8 ish I was in Woolworths (yes long time ago) I saw this old man with a big raincoat on, I saw him put a lightbulb in his pocket, but I never said anything but I've always remembered it.

About a month ago I was in my town and we have a Gregs bakery, just outside on the corner a beggar is usually sat, they vary from week to week.

His mate was with him, as I was walking into Gregs this mate was coming out carrying 2 hot boxes of chicken or what ever, the manager in Gregs followed him and said "are you going to pay for them today"? he just ignored her. He said to beggar/mate which one you want chicken nuggets or etc.

I spoke to the manager she said that is the second time today he has done that, he just walks in picks his sandwich/hot box drink etc and just walks back out as he knows she is not allowed or wants to confront him.

I have know others just walk into another big supermarket pick up legs of lamb/coffee and just walk out not even run! it seems its free for all (except us).

I suppose stealing a bit of food seems trivial when they steal cars/bikes other stuff.

So have you! ever seen anything?

Theexwife Mon 18-Sep-23 11:25:17

I have seen it in a local co-op, two women chose some items from the freezer and then just walked out with them. The staff member said there was nothing she could do.

With so few police and the waste of court time, it is not a crime that can be dealt with. They can be banned from the store but if they come back there is not much the staff can do.

Beckett Mon 18-Sep-23 12:01:18

Some time ago I saw someone taking things off the shelf and putting them into his pocket - I pointed him out to a member of staff who just shrugged and said "it happens". I didn't expect her to confront the thief but I did think she should have reported it to the security guard.

Visgir1 Mon 18-Sep-23 12:06:16

Yes our local Tesco, told team in shop said little they can do.

Plus couple of weeks ago, in our small local M&S chap filling up a plastic bag with Salmon plus other fish. He saw us watching appeard to arrogantly walk swiftly past me, as my DH walked the other way to the entrance.
As the chap was leaving the shop my DH shouted thief and went to grabbed the bag containing the fish.
However at he door was the chaps mate ready with his bike, but DH kept him in the area long enough for it to be seen in the security cameras, and have a good look at him.
Staff alerted they just saw 2 chaps legging in bikes, they and management, thanked DH. The info the manager said will be sent to the Police. M&S have asked us if needed, would we appear as witnesses, M&S said they want this stopped.

Sago Mon 18-Sep-23 12:10:00

Yes in a large Boots, an assistant took a bottle of aftershave out of a locked cabinet and allowed them to approach the self scan tills with it!
They just left the store.
I alerted staff, they didn’t care.

J52 Mon 18-Sep-23 12:15:27

DH and I were shopping at a local centre, as we walked past a large clothing shop a Landrover Discovery pulled up with open doors and a woman ran from the clothing shop. She had arms full of clothing, obviously straight from the racks and jumped into the car that then sped off.
DH and I were really shocked!
Apparently, on line Auction clothing sites are full of clothing described as Brand New With Tags.

Grannynannywanny Mon 18-Sep-23 12:17:30

A noble deed on the part of your husband Visgir1 but a very risky one. Your husband could have been pushed to the ground and seriously injured or worse still the thief could have been armed with a knife. If M&S want it stopped then they need to employ proper security. They can’t rely on customers to risk tackling shoplifters.

Dee1012 Mon 18-Sep-23 12:21:50

Last week as I was walking into a local shop, a man in his early 20's was walking out briskly - he actually nearly walked into me as he was looking behind.

Just inside the store an assistant looked quite upset as he'd thrown a large bottle of shampoo at her which had obviously caught the side of her head....I overhead the other workers commenting that 'he'd been back'.

In the queue, another shopper said several workers in the store had been pushed / had items thrown at them in recent weeks.
Police were arriving too!

MerylStreep Mon 18-Sep-23 12:24:42

Seen lots of shop lifting. Mostly in the charity shop I volunteer in.
I once confronted a group of women pickpockets. I was in a shop and they were about to lift a wallet out of a man’s back pocket. I shouted oh, what do you think your doing they soon ran 😂

bikergran Mon 18-Sep-23 12:40:09

MerylStreep I also worked in a charity shop at the end of the day when tidying the rails we saw what had started off as a long dress, reduced to just the top part. Someone had come in cut off the bottom half and left the top!

I believe some Tesco staff at some stores are being fitted with body cams, not the security guards but the staff! shock

tanith Mon 18-Sep-23 12:48:37

My daughter works in a large retail shop and sometimes it’s just her and a female colleague in the store they have many instances of shoplifting children and adults brazenly walk around putting stuff in their bags and walking past my daughter on the till to the doors, she used to challenge people but now says it’s so prolific she’s given up as sometimes she has been threatened with violence and with no back up it’s useless and dangerous.

TerriBull Mon 18-Sep-23 12:49:06

I did see an elderly woman lift a sandwich in Pret or somewhere like that, I didn't say anything, for all I know she may well have really needed it. Now shoplifting seems altogether much more orchestrated and motivated, in some cases, by greed. Lets hope, given many of the larger chains are being targeted on a sustained basis, that our high streets don't emulate some of the cities in the US where multi nationals have pulled out and the feel of the shopping centres is abandonment .

I feel sorry for staff having to cope with potential violence.

Ali08 Mon 18-Sep-23 12:50:03

It's cheaper to replace items than to have staff off due to injury by these thieves!!
I have watched YouTube videos of certain women who wear long skirts and the things they hide underneath or in the folds of such skirts is quite remarkable!
This is what our world has come to now, unfortunately!!

annsixty Mon 18-Sep-23 13:31:06

Yes I have seen it more than once.
In Boots my GD and I saw a young man empty a display of Afershave and mens Cologne into a bag and just walk out.
We only realised what was happening at the same time as another customer who called out.
One of the shop assistants was quite nasty to us and said we should have done something.
I was well over 80 and wouldn’t have dreamed of risking being attacked.
Then in our small Simply food I was at the till when another young man put several bottles of wine into a carrier bag .
I alerted the staff and one chased him through the car park but didn’t catch him.
For several weeks at the same store all the steak was kept in the back as they had lost an entire cabinet full.
It is back in the chiller cabinets now.
They just occasionally have a security man on the door but not all the time.

karmalady Mon 18-Sep-23 13:33:05

personal morality is in short supply

Nell8 Mon 18-Sep-23 14:05:46

I saw two young girls steal a skirt from a market stall while the owner's back was turned. They disappeared into the crowd in a flash.

I was queuing to pay at the till in a cafe when a young man leant over beside me, lifted the lid of a cabinet then scarpered with a sausage roll.

In House of Fraser I saw a dodgy character eyeing up leather jackets. Later that day I saw the same suspect being hotly pursued down the High Street by a couple of bobbies! I had a word with a security guard who was watching. He said the shops' CCTV operators had been tracking the villain for some time. Nice one.

Dottydots Mon 18-Sep-23 14:07:20

I know it's not quite the same, but when I was about 10 I stole a small bar of chocolate from our local newsagents when I bought a comic. The shame lives with me to this day.

AreWeThereYet Mon 18-Sep-23 14:12:31

A number of times in TKMaxx I've picked up a box to find it was empty - someone had filched the contents and replaced the box! I always put it back quickly and hope no CCTV has recorded me picking up the box 😬

fancythat Mon 18-Sep-23 14:27:01

A few years ago I saw a young mum put something in the bottom basket bit of a buggy.

I told the staff member.
What happened I do not know.

But I think parents do sometimes put things in the base of a buggy, and take them out and pay when they have finished shopping.
So it is possible the person was going to do that.

HousePlantQueen Mon 18-Sep-23 14:27:49


DH and I were shopping at a local centre, as we walked past a large clothing shop a Landrover Discovery pulled up with open doors and a woman ran from the clothing shop. She had arms full of clothing, obviously straight from the racks and jumped into the car that then sped off.
DH and I were really shocked!
Apparently, on line Auction clothing sites are full of clothing described as Brand New With Tags.

Crikey. I have bought clothing online marked as new with tags and wondered, in my naivety why the seller didn't take it back if it didn't fit.

HousePlantQueen Mon 18-Sep-23 14:32:02

There is a world of difference between someone pinching a block of cheese for their children's lunch, and gangs rampaging through shops taking armfuls of stuff to sell on. I am not condoning the former, just being understanding. But, the reports of marauding gangs clearing shelves are terrifying.

AreWeThereYet Mon 18-Sep-23 14:33:29

I worked in retail briefly and often had to sit with the security guard and shop lifter until the police came. Young mums were often caught putting things in their prams. Sometimes their husbands were brought in to be with them, and they would be furious - but whether it was because they were shop lifting or because they were caught I have no idea.

LadyGracie Mon 18-Sep-23 14:58:08

I saw a man possibly in his late teens or early 20's running out of Sainsburys with a bag of food, he was apprehended just outside and led back into and through the shop, he was dirty, very thin and unkempt, I felt sorry for him.

Patsy70 Mon 18-Sep-23 15:16:51


personal morality is in short supply

It really is. I’m another one who volunteers at a charity shop. I haven’t actually witnessed anyone stealing, as I’m usually sorting, steaming, pricing and hanging at the back of the shop. However, it happens quite regularly, and others see it (and give chase!). There are often empty hangers too. The problem is, if thieves are not being prosecuted for shoplifting, they’ll go on to more serious crime. So very worrying.

Maggiemaybe Mon 18-Sep-23 15:31:00

It’s nothing new (though apparently there’s a lot more of it about). When I was still at school I had a Saturday job at Woolworths. We had clothing near one of the entrances and I witnessed someone grab an armful of shirts and scarper more than once. Of course it’s much easier to sell them on now, but I had friends at work who’d quite happily buy bargains from “the shoplifter” - they didn’t see it as wrong if they hadn’t physically stolen the goods themselves.