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Cost of living crisis: Tesco to up security as 'desperate people' turn to shoplifting

Greenock, Scotland - People outside the main entrance to a large Tesco extra superstore.
Tesco is reportedly upping security amid the ongoing cost of living crisis. (PA)

Supermarket shoppers could see extra security tags on food as the cost of living crisis bites, the boss of Tesco has admitted.

John Allan, Tesco chairman and former President of the CBI, said shoplifting is a growing concern as 'desperate people seek desperate measures' as costs of everyday items continue to rise.

Speaking on Times Radio on Sunday morning, he told Adam Boulton and Kate McCann that Tesco would be putting more security items on certain items, as well as more security guards in certain places, but would be doing so "selectively" and "intelligently".

He said: "I think shoplifting is a concern and getting the police to take action and respond to cases where we and other retailers – and this is a concern right across the retail trade – is an issue.

"I don’t sympathise with people who shoplift but I can understand desperate people taking desperate measures sometimes when they’ve literally got no money left."

Watch: Shoppers in London give thoughts on rising food prices

Asked if Tesco is putting security tags on more products, he said they would, adding: "But obviously there’s a limit to the amount you can do, so we try to do that intelligently in terms of the products that are most likely to be stolen

"Yes we are putting more security presence into those of our stores that are most impacted by shoplifting but we are doing that selectively."

His comments come after previous reports that various supermarket chains have been putting more security tags on items like cheese and earlier this month one Citizens Advice boss warned that security tags were being put on baby formula as desperate parents tried to steal it.

Read more: Cost-of-living crisis: School uniform logos could be ditched in Wales

The Tesco chairman's comments also come after the British Retail Consortium said that food prices in August rose at the fastest rate since 2008 – up 9.3% after a 7% increase last month.

According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and NielsenIQ index, fresh food prices were 10.5% higher than last August, up from the 8% annual increase recorded in July, with products such as milk and margarine seeing the biggest rises.

They blamed the Ukraine war and its effect on the price of animal feed, fertiliser, wheat and vegetable oils.