Caught with their hands in the cookie jar

SHOPLIFTING offences in Orange Local Court weighed heavily on court time on Thursday with 16 offences that occurred in November and December last year.

Only one of the 16 charges was dismissed with no conviction with most of the shoplifters convicted and order to pay fines of $300 each.

In one set of charges a woman was working in company with two males as they stuffed items into a baby’s nappy bag at a supermarket but were caught after coming under the notice of store security staff.

Shoplifting, including an increasing number of people who are trying to beat the self scanning system introduced in many retail outlets, accounts for $7.5 billion in retail theft every year in Australia according to executive director of the Australian Retailers Association Russell Zimmerman.

However he said despite people learning how they can beat the scanning system, most retailers factored some level of theft into their plans when introducing the new technology.

“This is an emerging issue of theft through the scanners but retailers have been forced into introducing them (self-scanners) because of costs.

“Paying double time on Sundays and time and a half on Saturday’s has left retailers with no choice because they need to look at bringing their costs down,” he said.

However Mr Zimmerman said even smarter self scanning technology is being introduced in other parts of the world including technology that allows for scanning all items at once in a full trolley which is wheeled over sensors or taken through an archway sensor system or more sophisticated bar codes that allows several items to be scanned at once.

Mr Zimmerman said the methods being used by thieves to trick the scanning system are well-known in the industry  but wasn’t prepared to publicly reveal them.

Mr Zimmerman concedes self-scanning devices in retail outlets are putting some people out of work, but says retailers had no choice in introducing the technology in order to rein in their costs.

“Retail in Australia accounts for $256 billion, but 3 per cent of that goes in retail theft,” he said.

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