Self-scan shoplifters steal US$4.2b a year in Britain

Xinhua
Light-fingered Britons are stealing US$4.2b goods through self-service tills each year, with almost one in four people admitting taking at least one item without paying for it.
Xinhua

Light-fingered Britons are stealing 3.2 billion pounds (US$4.2 billion) of goods through self-service tills each year, with almost one in four people admitting taking at least one item without paying for it, local newspaper reported Wednesday.

Theft from unmanned checkouts has more than doubled over the past four years, according to a study cited by The Times newspaper, raising questions about viability of the devices in some stores in Britain.

The loss equates to five pounds, or some US$6.7, of goods per Briton per month, the newspaper said.

"Toiletries, fruit and veg and dairy products are the most common items taken and almost half of people who steal from the checkouts claim to do so regularly," it reported.

When asked why they had not paid for an item, two fifths of people who had stolen something said they did so because they knew they could get away with it.

The study also suggested the high theft rate is not entirely because of a collapse in public morals but because the machines do not always work properly.

There are an estimated 50,000 self-service tills across Britain, according to the newspaper.

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