A supermarket plagued by a spate of thefts has started putting empty jars and packets on its shelves in a bid to battle shoplifters.
The Co-op in Redcliffe, Bristol, is targeted several times a day by thieves - with some even disguising themselves so they won’t be recognised.
Staff are now putting empty ‘display’ items including coffee jars and detergent on its shelves, and customers have to ask for the full pack if they want to buy it.
The shop has also restricted the number of meats and cheese on the shelves, such as just one steak and two packs of premium bacon or Cathedral City cheese.
Another move staff have designed to catch out shoplifters is to cut the bottom out of confectionery boxes so if anyone tries to steal a box, the contents fall to the floor.
One staff member said: “People nick these things because they can sell them on easily for a decent value.
“They often go for meat as well, which is why we only put out one steak and two Irresistible bacon packs at any one time.”
The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: “We have a 'limiter' on the Cathedral City cheese too, with just two packs out.
“The only cheese the shoplifters don’t tend to go for is the Co-op own brand.”
The employee said shoplifters even wear disguises so they’re not recognised.
He said: “We know the usual suspects. Recently a woman came in whom I had asked to leave a couple of months prior.
“This time she had a wig on and she came in when it was busy, but I still recognised her. I shouted, ‘Oi – get out.’
The worker said company policy often prevents them from tackling shoplifters, and the police are too busy to attend reports of shoplifting.
A spokesman for Southern Co-op said: “Along with other retailers, we have experienced an increase in retail crime.
“Where appropriate, we consider a range of security measures to make us less of a target for shoplifters to protect our colleagues and our business."
An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said: "When there is an incident of a shop theft where an offender has been detained by a retailer we will always make every effort to attend if resources are available.
“We have focused our approach on crime reduction and working in partnership with retailers through schemes such as Shop Watch.”