More shoppers are stealing from the self-service tills

One third of shoppers admit stealing using self-service tills

Nearly a third of British shoppers have admitted stealing from supermarkets after taking advantage of unmanned self-service checkouts.

By Hannah Furness
6:59AM BST 26 Apr 2012

The customers, many of whom would not have dreamt of shoplifting under the noses of staff, use a range of tricks to dupe the automatic machines into giving them money off their shopping.

The canny criminal tactics include selecting cheaper fruit and vegetables while weighing their purchases and selecting “small” when asked to enter the size of items.

Others use the most rudimentary method of placing items in plastic shopping bags without scanning them properly, while others simply walk off with their full load without paying.

Have you ever used self-service checkouts to shoplift?

Some, who have clearly developed a knack for more complicated methods, have confessed to tampering with the scales.

The results, gleaned from a survey of nearly 5,000 customers on money saving website, showed 30 per cent have now stolen from self-service tills.

A further 13 per cent admitted they did not steal only because they were afraid of getting caught.

Another 58 per cent said they had not cheated the automated system, saying they considered it stealing and would never do it.

A spokesman for said: “Checkouts are calibrated to detect when an unpaid for item makes it into the bagging area, giving rise to the now famous phrase “unexpected item in the bagging area.

“But staff regularly override the checkout in order to keep the queues flowing.

“One checkout supervisor recently landed her employer in hot water when she overrode the till to allow a seven-year-old girl to purchase wine for her mother.

“Without proper supervision, small items such as packets can easily be slipped into a bag unnoticed and passed off by the customer as an honest mistake, if challenged.

“While our poll revealed disagreement over the ethics of cheating the checkout, there seems to be a much stronger consensus when it comes to the user experience – most admit to having lost their tempers.”

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