Brazen thieves fill duffle bags with Boots cosmetics and walk out with armfuls of Greggs food as shoplifting soars

22 April 2024, 11:15

Two stores in London were brazenly targeted over the weekend
Two stores in London were brazenly targeted over the weekend. Picture: social media/X/crimeldn
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Shocking footage shows Boots and Greggs stores being targeted by brazen thieves in London over the weekend amid a surge in shoplifting across the country.

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One video posted online shows two men filling duffle bags with products from Boots on Chingford High Street, east London, on Sunday afternoon.

Worried staff members simply watch on as the two men line the shelves, as one woman is seemingly on the phone to the police.

The footage was posted online just a day after a man was seen brazenly filling his arms with food and drink from a Greggs store in Archway, north London.

LBC has contacted the Metropolitan Police for a response.

It comes amid a surge in the number of shoplifting offences in the UK.

More than 402,000 offences were recorded in the year to September 2023, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Read More: Labour will tackle shoplifting amid 'record levels' with better protection for workers, shadow minister says

Read More: Tesco store refuses to let customers enter until they have been seen on CCTV amid surge in shoplifting

This was a significant increase from the 304,459 recorded in the previous 12 months and the first time since records began in 2002 that the figure rose above 400,000.

As a result, supermarkets and shops across the UK have adopted extreme measures in a bid to reduce their stores from being targeted.

One Tesco store in Bristol has recently stopped letting customers into the shop until their face has been scanned by CCTV.

Meanwhile, other supermarkets, including Sainsbury's, have stopped customers leaving until they have scanned their receipts.

Earlier this month, Rishi Sunak launched a fresh crackdown on serial shoplifters, with the Government making assaulting a shopworker a separate criminal offence.

Ministers had previously ruled out creating a separate criminal offence, insisting it was not "required".

Last year, a Sainsbury's store wouldn't let customers leave until they had scanned their receipt.
Last year, a Sainsbury's store wouldn't let customers leave until they had scanned their receipt. Picture: X via MikeyFox

But the Government has now changed its position, with the prime minister announcing that the Criminal Justice Bill would be amended to bring in the new offence.

"I am sending a message to those criminals - whether they are serious organised criminal gangs, repeat offenders or opportunistic thieves - who think they can get away with stealing from these local businesses or abusing shopworkers, enough is enough," Mr Sunak said.

"Our local shops are the lifeblood of our communities, and they must be free to trade without the threat of crime or abuse."

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