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Crackdown on self-serve supermarket theft

AAP logoAAP 6/10/2016

Opportunists' days of using self-serve checkouts to get a four-finger discount on items such as that extra avocado are over, NSW police and supermarkets warn.

A NSW crackdown on petty theft at chains such as Coles has been launched, with the retailer saying it's sick of customers who lie about what's in their basket to get a discount or who try and avoid paying altogether.

"No matter how small you think it is, even if it's the avocado and you're saving $2, it's still shoplifting," detective superintendent Murray Chapman told reporters outside a supermarket in Zetland, in inner Sydney, on Thursday.

Coles says it's caught roughly 11,000 customers stealing goods at its self-serve check outs across Australia over the past year.

"There has been a normalisation of theft at self-serve checkouts over the last few years," Coles spokeswoman Martine Alpins said.

"There's also a feeling that (because they're) not being served by a traditional checkout person, 'perhaps I have the entitlement'."

But Coles said the machines weren't going anywhere because they were convenient and increased customer traffic.

Det Supt Chapman said he couldn't go into the specifics of the crackdown but warned potential thieves they wouldn't go unnoticed.

"You won't see the loss prevention officers visibly in a lot of centres and you won't see police," he said.

"But when we run these operations we're out there and we work collectively to identify and charge people."

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