Steaks moved from supermarket shelves as shoplifters target high-end meat

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A supermarket has removed steaks from shelves to prevent shoplifting (Image: Harry Wallop)
A supermarket has removed steaks from shelves to prevent shoplifting (Image: Harry Wallop)

Supermarkets have moved steaks off their shelves as shoplifters target high-end meat cuts.

A rise in purloined sirloins has forced Aldi to hide the meat away – with shoppers having to ask for it at the till.

Experts says the thefts could be costing stores up to 15% of their profits.

Prof Joshua Bamfield, of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Thieves target steaks because they’re so easy to sell on.

“They can sell them door-to-door or, if they take enough, sell them to pubs.”

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Prof Bamfield, author of Shopping and Crime, added: “It’s not an unusual target for shoplifters. If managers have taken the step of hiding them away, it shows that the store is suffering huge losses.”

Steaks moved from supermarket shelves as shoplifters target high-end meatAldi was forced to hide steaks away (Getty Images)

Journalist and author Harry Wallop spotted a sign at Aldi in Dalston, East London, telling customers steaks were only “available by request”.

He said: “A staff member told me, ‘If we put steaks out, they get immediately shoplifted.’ The fact it was on a busy high street likely added to the problem.”

The steaks, including £4.85 ribeyes and £4.99 sirloins, are kept in the storeroom and customers have to ask checkout attendants for the cut they want.

Steaks moved from supermarket shelves as shoplifters target high-end meatSteaks are kept in the storeroom (Getty Images)

The store had a similar sign for spirits such as vodka. Farrah McNutt, founder of Catch a Thief – which prosecutes shoplifters – said the problem is getting worse because thieves are getting away with it.

She warned: “When stores report incidents there’s no funding for the police to investigate properly – which makes shoplifters think they’re getting away with it.”

Meat was first security tagged to deter shoplifters in the 1980s, when the technology to do so was first developed, according to Professor Bamfield.

He says tagging returned during the 2008 financial crash and again last year as the cost of living crisis started to pinch.

It is thought up to 5% of the steak bought by UK stores gets stolen.

Ms McNutt added: “Aldi is known for low prices. But when product is constantly taken it suffers massive losses and will have to raise prices. We are all victims.”

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An Aldi spokesperson confirmed that this a local store issue and not a nationwide policy.

Emer Scully

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