Shoppers Bagging Without Paying At Checkouts
One in five people has admitted to stealing items while going through a self-service supermarket checkout.
It accounts for more than £1.6bn worth of goods being taken from supermarkets each year, according to a survey.
The most common goods stolen through self-service checkouts were fruit and vegetables, followed by bread and cakes, sweets and toiletries.
And the majority of those who admitted taking items said they did so on a regular basis. The survey, by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, estimates that amounted to around £180 worth of products per person.
The most common reason given initially for taking goods without paying for them, pollsters were told, was because the goods would not register on the scanner.
Once they had gone undetected, the shoppers decided they could do it again.
And of those who did not steal from the checkouts, the reason given was they were afraid of being caught.
George Charles, of VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, said: "I'm sure most of those who now admit to stealing via self-service checkouts didn't initially set out to do so - they may have forgotten to scan something and quickly realised how easy it could be to take items without scanning them.
"No doubt there's an element of risk involved, but when people start stealing it can be difficult to stop - that is until you get caught - particularly when money might be tight.
"The poll showed that more than £1bn is stolen through self-scan checkouts each year, which is just not acceptable.
"Supermarkets need to increase the number of staff who monitor the self-scan checkouts, even though the point of these checkouts is to reduce the need for staff, as well as increase their security measures to ensure this comes to an end.
"It's not worth getting into trouble with the police over the matter of a few pieces of fruit and veg."
The poll interviewed more than 2,600 people from across the UK.
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