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I’m burnt out from dealing with shoplifters in our London store | Crime

Re your article on shoplifting (‘One guy uses us like a larder’: the British shoplifting crisis – as seen from the tills, 1 June), I work at a supermarket chain in one of London’s richest boroughs. I’ve seen a massive increase in shoplifting and theft that I would describe as “to order”.

We are seeing individuals coming into the store with large bags and filling them up with high-value items such as meat, alcohol, baby milk, beauty products – and leaving without paying.

I would say a large amount of this theft is from people who are going to sell the items on. They know that there is a likelihood they are going to get stopped by staff or by our security, but many times they get away and they know that there is little we can do.

The few times that the police have got involved is because an individual has used racial or homophobic abuse towards staff.

Police involvement doesn’t deter individuals. A man once shouted homophobic abuse at me. I’m currently helping the police with their inquiries, yet he came back into the shop twice on one day last week. It is mentally exhausting; I’m helping customers with their shopping while keeping my eyes peeled looking for behaviour that is typical of shoplifting.

Each time we have an incident of theft, we are supposed to record it on a system that is time-consuming and slow. On days when theft is high, I feel that I could spend all day recording these incidents, but the store is busy and customers will always get priority.

Without there being a large increase in investment from the store into security, I’m not sure what more can be done. Dealing with shoplifters is frustrating and exhausting.
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