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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 17 December 2007

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Grazing’ costs British retailers over £200 million each year

'GRAZERS', Britons eating and drinking consumables as they walk around stores which they do not subsequently pay for, cost retailers around £207 million each year, according to the 4th Annual Retail Crime Survey 2007 by G4S Security Services (UK). 8% of Britons admits to consuming products in stores, which they do not pay for when they reach the checkout, the survey reveals.

In the last 12 months, over 2 million (7%) British adults have failed to scan an item at a self-service checkout and then left the store without paying. These checkouts, which are designed to speed up the payment process, often have little supervision and are being abused by unscrupulous shoppers engaging in this type of ‘self-scan scam.’ Men are twice as likely (10%) as women (5%) to have taken an item without paying using this technique.  9% of Britons admits to shoplifting over the last 12 months, stealing a total of over £747 million worth of goods. The research reveals that young Britons aged 16-24 years are most likely to have shoplifted, with 14% in this age bracket admitting to retail theft in the last 12 months.

Douglas Greenwell, Sales & Marketing Director of G4S Security Services (UK) said:- “We are seeing an increasing number of shopping baskets littered with empty wrappers or half eaten bunches of grapes. This ‘grazing’ is a form of theft and costs the retail industry millions of pounds in lost revenue each year. We are seeking to remind all shoppers that they should pay for any product that they consume on retailers’ premises otherwise it is classed as theft, even if walking out without paying for the item is unintentional. Shoplifting is still wrongly perceived as a victimless crime.”

While retailers bear the brunt of the financial cost of shoplifting, they are not the only victims. Some suppliers are paid for the volume sold by the shop rather than the volume given to the store, so they too will be counting the cost of stolen goods.

Greenwell continued:- “While retailers will be pleased that shoppers are taking advantage of these new self-service technologies, this survey shows that they’ll have to address this new threat from self-service scamming. It would be a shame if self-service checkouts were removed because they are abused by those who think they can get away without paying.”

Regional findings:- People living in the Greater London region are the mostly likely to graze as they wander round a retail outlet, consuming food and drink, without paying for it. Meanwhile, people living in Wales and the West of England are the least likely to engage in this type of activity.

Table 1:- Percentage of grazing shoppers by region in the United Kingdom

Rank Region Percentage of grazers
1 Greater London 12% (481,000)
2 North West 10% (456,000)
2 Scotland 10% (327,000)
4 North East/Yorks/Humberside 9% (502,000)
5 Midlands 8% (475,000)
6 South East/East Anglia 6% (528,000)
7 Wales & West 3% (156,000)

Source: G4S Security Services (UK)

People living in the Greater London region are also the mostly likely to participate in a self-scan scam, failing to scan an item at a self service checkout and then leaving the store without paying. People living in Scotland are the least likely to engage in this illegal activity.

Table 2:- Percentage of shoppers failing to scan items at a checkout and leaving without paying for them

Rank Region Percentage of people
1 Greater London 12% (467,000)
2 Midlands 8% (473000)
3 Wales & West 10% (482,000)
3 North West 7% (410,000)
3 North East/Yorks/Humberside 7% (382,000)
6 South East/East Anglia 6% (553,000)
7 Scotland 4% (119,000)

Source:- G4S Security Services (UK)

People living in the Greater London region are the most likely to have shoplifted in the last 12 months, followed closely by those living in the Midlands, Wales & West and the North West. Those living in Scotland are the least likely to have shoplifted in the last year.

Table 3:- Percentage of people that have admitted shoplifting in the last 12 months divided by region

Rank Region Percentage of people
1 Greater London 11% (464,000)
2 Midlands 10% (577,000)
2 Wales & West 10% (483,000)
2 North West 10% (437,000)
5 North East/Yorks/Humberside 9% (579,000)
6 South East/East Anglia 8% (760,000)
7 Scotland 7% (227,000)

Source: G4S Security Services (UK)

G4S is additionally warning with Christmas approaching to beware of people offering bargains in bars, pubs and on the street that appear to be too good to be true.’ These bargainsare often goods stolen from a retail outlet and their purchase encourages further shoplifting, the proceeds of which are used to fund antisocial activities such as drug abuse.

Recipe for Disaster - Don’t serve up food poisoning this Christmas

A total of 81% of people in the north-west wash their turkeys before cooking them, significantly increasing the risk of food poisoning, according to a new survey by the Food Standards Agency. 

The survey, which looked into the eating habits of UK consumers at Christmas, found that women aged over 45 were the most frequent turkey-washing offenders and cooks in the north-east of England topped the hazard chart, with 90% likely to run their raw turkeys under the tap.  The Agency warns against washing meat because harmful bacteria can easily splash from raw meat and poultry to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils. Germs that cause food poisoning can also linger on surfaces for days.

Judith Hilton, Head of Microbiological Safety at the Food Standards Agency, said:- “Most people think they know how to prepare the Christmas meal with their eyes shut. But we’ve found that there are still a couple of Christmas food safety clangers served up each year. Turkey washing seems to be the most common blunder.  Remember, it’s not possible to wash off all the germs that cause food poisoning with water. They’re killed by heat. By washing your raw turkey, you’re actually more likely to spread the germs than get rid of them.”

Results from the survey show that 18% of people in the north-west aren’t sure how to tell when their turkey is cooked and although formal reported incidents are fairly low, 2% of people across the UK think they have suffered from festive food poisoning in the past 5 years.

To ensure that your turkey is cooked properly, make sure it is piping hot all the way through, cut into the thickest part to check that none of the meat is pink, and if juices run out they should be clear.  Celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Ainsley Harriott are featuring in the Agency’s radio adverts this year to help people avoid serving up food poisoning at Christmas.

For more information on how to prepare your Christmas dinner safely, log on to, or email our turkey experts at

Christmas Shopping in UK; More Festive Sneer than Cheer

SURVEY reveals unhelpful, impatient shop assistants characterise Christmas with supermarkets worst culprits.  The UK is not awash with yuletide blessings when it comes to shopping, a survey revealed, as many of the public are dissatisfied with customer service in the run up to Christmas.

The Leadership factor, the UK’s leading source of customer satisfaction data polled 1000 people from across the country to find out whether we receive service with a smile during December.  Far from festive cheer, the survey revealed that 50% of us think that customer service gets worse in the run up to Christmas, with shops hiringinexperienced staff for the season cited as the main reason why.

Supermarkets and food stores in general came in for attack, as 27% stated that they were the worst culprits for bad customer service when compared with other retails outlets. Best performing were the department stores, who garnered 22% of respondents’ votes when asked to name their most favoured type of shop for yuletide purchasing.  80% of us find shopping in the run up to Christmas stressful, with shop assistants evidently not helping to soften the blow. 57% of respondents stated that shop assistants were less helpful throughout the festive season, with a further 61% accusing them of being less patient.  With 73% of the UK not enjoying the busyness of the shops, there was some understanding of the difficulties shops workers face, though, as 85% confessed that assistants have to put up witha lot of rude customers at Christmas time.

The research, which was conducted by, the online consumer panel for The Leadership Factor, questioned 1000 respondents from across the UK.

Greg Roche, Director, Leadership Factor, said:- “Whilst December is always a busy period for retailers, customer satisfaction needs to be high to ensure this year’s customers will return next December.  It is no surprise that certain companies need to recruit more staff for the busy period retail period running up to Christmas.  However, with high customer satisfaction vital to encourage retention rates amongst purchasers, repeat custom might not be a possibility for those employing staff with inadequate training or those displaying less than ‘festive’ moods.  Perhaps the old adage is true; a smile costs you nothing.”

For more information, visit

Christmas music all washed up

STRESSED Britons are shunning mainstream chart acts and traditional Yule singles for spiritual CDs as they look to reduce the annual holiday hassle.

In the run-up to Christmas over 500,000 copies of titles such as The Sea, Celtic Spirit and African Voices have stolen a march on pop and rock acts as the country craves calming tunes.

According to Global Journey, the UK's leading lifestyle CD and DVD manufacturer, the figure marks a ten-fold increase on last year's figures. Their current top ten selling CD titles are:-

1 The Sea
2 Spirit of the Wolf
3 Angels
4 Tranquillity
5 Celtic Spirit
6 Pan Pipes by the Sea
7 African Voices
8 Chill Out -Tibet
9 Mother and Baby
10 Zen Garden

Colin Samuels, managing director of Global Journey, said:- "X-Factor winners, stadium sell-outs and reformed giants are obviously not striking a cord with the public. Consumers are sick of hearing the usual hits and need something relaxed as an antidote to the seasonal rush." Email Us Your News Now

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