HANDS OFF: Spanish supermarkets putting electronic tags on OLIVE OIL as shoplifting surges

SPANISH supermarkets are putting electronic tags on products such as olive oil in bid to ward off shoplifters as the cost-of-living crisis bites.

They have also beefed up security to patrol the aisles across and try to deter the thieves or even catch them red handed.

The steady uptick in supermarket prices has seen a surge in thefts that amount to over €800 million annually, representing 0.75% of total turnover, according to the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Distributors (AECOC).

Most supermarket chains have not employed constant surveillance up until now, with the exception of Carrefour.

Dia has adopted a policy of placing electronic tags on items that cost €8 or more as olive oil has become a prime target.

In many supermarkets, this staple of the Mediterranean diet now costs €35.75 for five litres.

Olive oil prices in Spain have risen by 114.8% since March 2021, while the cost of the same brand of olive oil can be up to 45% more expensive in one supermarket than in another chain. 

The most commonly stolen items include high-value deli products, perfumes, and alcoholic beverages. Experts have noted that these thefts are often driven by impulse rather than need, or may be carried out by specialised gangs.

Despite recent changes to the Penal Code, which introduced prison sentences of 6 to 18 months for multi-repeated thefts, the problem continues to grow.

There has been a 30.2% year-on-year increase in thefts reported in 2022 and a 12% increase in the first quarter of 2023. 

The current €400 threshold of penalties for multi-repeated theft has been deemed problematic, as canny thieves target lower-value items that don’t meet it.


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