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Supermarket meat under lock and key in bid to stop thieves

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Large joints of lamb are being locked away in security boxes at supermarkets across the region in a desperate bid to stop thieves fleeing with expensive cuts of meat.

Iceland stores and some other large supermarkets are being forced to lock higher valued meat joints, including lamb and gammon, in clear boxes or tagged in the freezer sections so they cannot be easily stolen.

The security measures are similar to those in place for higher valued items including DVDs, perfumes and alcohol.

Shop bosses said the tagging was down to each store manager to decide if it was needed in each area.

Iceland stores in Wolverhampton and Cannock are among those to bring in the measures.

Shoppers in Wolvehampton's Iceland store, in the Wulfrun Centre, said they thought the moves were a good idea if it deterred thieves.

Marion Hagley, aged 82 and from Merridale, said: "I think it's excellent.

"Food prices have gone up and it stops people shoving it into their bag and walking off. The boxes are heavy and more noticeable so it makes it harder to carry them out."

Shopper Sylvia Dudley added: "They'll certainly put people off trying to steal them. You'd have a bit of trouble trying to hide one of those.

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"They're a very good idea."

At the Cannock store, housewife Jayne Murray, aged 46 from Great Wyrley, said: "I haven't got a problem with it. I think anything to stop people nicking stuff is a good idea."

Julie Parsons, aged 34, an IT manager from Burntwood added: "I think they should do it on more products that get stolen.

"When people steal things from shops they think because they are bigger shops it doesn't matter, but the cost always gets passed down to us."

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A spokesman for Iceland said the "lamb saver boxes" were used in several hundreds of Iceland stores across the country.

"They are designed to help prevent theft of our lamb products. The boxes provide a defence mechanism to reduce theft and ensure we have maximum availability of the product for our customers."

Other stores including Morrisons, Lidl and the Co-operative also said they used similar security measures incorporated into the packaging to alert staff if the meat hadn't been paid for as people left the shops.

Last year it was revealed thieves in the West Midlands cost firms £169 million by taking packaged meat, cheese, shaving products and lip gloss.

Criminals target these items as they can be easily concealed and sold quickly.

Experts have been told by shoplifters that they can offload goods by simply carrying out "door-to-door" sales or by visiting drinkers in local pubs. And it has emerged that some thieves are even stealing to order for people who tell them what they are looking for.

In January last year, celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson issued an apology after stealing cheese and wine from a branch of Tesco.

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