Friday, 14 Jun 2024

Primark staff forced to wear bodycams to tackle shoplifters inspired by TikTok

Primark workers are heading out to work equipped with bodycams following a surge in shoplifting – which some are claiming is inspired by TikTok.

Users of the app have been sharing tips for how to steal, as well as ranking different shops based on how easy they are to nick from.

According to retail bosses, the issue is no longer just “kids pilfering” – instead, hundreds of pounds worth of clothes and goods are disappearing out the door without being paid for.

The head of John Lewis has branded it an “epidemic”, while Primark’s owner has warned investors that its budget was being impacted by all the missing stock as it advised of the new measures.

And now a growing number of retailers are ramping up security as the fast fashion giant begins equipping bodycams to its staff.

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Eoin Tonge, chief financial officer of owner Associated British Foods, told The Sun: “I think the cost of living crisis has given some people a societal excuse that they can just go out and nick what they want. It’s depressing, particularly for our staff.”

He warned that there was an astonishing rise in “the glorification of nicking on social media”.

One TikTok user, “x_borrowing.tings_x”, ranked stores out of ten based on how easy they were to steal from.

Asda landed in the number one spot, with the user claiming their stores were “so easy” to target.

Poundland got a seven, meanwile, because it only had a “couple of cameras and if you get caught you can just pay for it”.

However Savers was rated two before it has “lots of cameras and staff will follow you if they think you’re suspicious”.

“Security is getting better” in Superdrug, the user said, giving it a five, adding that it was still “easy” to nab lip glosses.

Some users thanked them for their advice, boasting about their own criminal hauls.

Other TikTokers have also given tips for what they call “borrowing” and described how to steal from different shops.

Similar content is also appearing on YouTube and other social media sites.

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Policing minister Chris Philp said he was “horrified” that TikTok had allowed the posts to remain on its platform and would be asking for an urgent meeting with its executives.

He told The Times: “They should not be facilitating the spread of criminal practice.”

TikTok insists it is not a TikTok-specific issue and said it removes content of this type whenever it is found.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, John Lewis chairwoman Sharon White said: “In the last year we’ve seen twice as many offences.

“When I think about our shop workers who were lauded as national heroes during the pandemic, it’s not right that they’re having to put up with abuse and attacks.”

Ten grocers and retailers including John Lewis, Co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Next are now providing £600,000 to fund a new police crackdown on shop stealing, titled “Project Pegasus”.

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