Shoppers at major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Aldi are reporting heightened security measures in UK stores such as bag searches after using self-service checkouts following a rise in shoplifting.
Customers claim they have found themselves under ‘close inspection’ following an increase in the number of bag checks at certain stores before leaving the premises.
It follows the introduction of barriers at many Sainsbury’s and Morrisons self-checkouts, which require a valid receipt to be scanned before shoppers can exit.
Mary Burrows, from Kingston-upon-Thames, posted on NextDoor and said her bags had been search on the last three times they had visited their local branch of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.
She said: ‘I’ve used self-scan since it started and have had my bags checked maybe twice in all that time until this week.
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Customers have found themselves under ‘close inspection’ following an increase in the number of bag checks at certain stores before leaving the premises.
Mary Burrows, from Kingston-upon-Thames, posted on NextDoor and said her bags had been search on the last three times they had visited their local branch of the supermarket giant.
‘The last three shops I’ve done at Sainsbury’s in Surbiton Basin have been checked, including a close inspection of my bag and sun hat.
‘I know this is random – well, I assume it is random – but is shoplifting on the rise at Sainsbury’s and other shops?
‘Their staff are helpful, products are good, my nearest shop too so this isn’t a rant. I just wondered if there is a problem?’
Others reportedly responded to Ms Burrows confirming they had noticed a similar trend.
Shoppers on various social media sites reported similar experiences. One Twitter user said: ‘Just went to Sainsbury’s local in Charing X Road, they didn’t have what I wanted, so went to leave the store empty handed.
‘Was stopped by a security guard and told he had to search my other bag and he was backed up by a floor Manger who then told him to search my pockets!
‘Apparently this is policy! I was so furious, I said do not touch me and why was I being exploited and treated as if I was a criminal?
‘I was then “allowed” to leave I’ve made a formal complaint to their customer service team. They are not getting away with this!’
Others reported bag checks at Aldi, with one customer writing: ‘Aldi now search people’s bags at the till by till staff before serving them in case of shoplifting.
‘If you refuse to be searched – no shopping! Happened to my 80-year-old mum. I’ve been told it’s new Aldi policy.’
A source from Sainsbury’s told The Telegraph: ‘Staff in stores who monitor [self-service checkouts] have been instructed to scrutinise a bigger number of customers going through them.
‘There were fears some shoppers might miss an item or two when scanning.’
They added there were fears shoplifters ‘felt they could just walk through the self-scan area and out the store without even buying anything.’
Sainsbury’s previously installed security gates at many of its stores which mean customers must scan a valid receipt in order to leave its self-service area.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘We have a range of security measures in place and we have not changed our bag check policy.’
There has been a reported rise in shoplifting since the onset of the cost of living crisis as more people struggle to make ends meet.
But shoppers hit out at the British firm as they said the barriers put innocent customers ‘under suspicion of stealing’.
The barriers have also been deployed in other major shops and supermarkets, including Aldi, Morrisons, and Primark.
They first started appearing in British shops at the end of last year, having also been spotted in shops in Europe.
Customers slammed the shop’s new security measures as they compared the experience to ‘entrapment’ and being treated like a ‘prisoner’.
Shoppers also hit out at the gates for slowing down their shopping trips as they complained about having to find their receipts to exit.
Aldi has been contacted for comment.
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