By SHAUN MILNE
BULLISH thieves have forced supermarket giants Tesco to beef up security at its fresh meats counter as shoplifters target prime STEAKS.
Brazen shoplifters in Edinburgh have zeroed in on the Tesco Express store in Edinburgh’s busy Tollcross area making off with “armfuls” of meat, including the prime cuts.
A sign at the store reads: ‘Due to the increase in theft of fresh meat from this display, if you require any meat to purchase, please contact any member of staff.’
Some of the tasty haul would usually earn store bosses as much as £16.21 per kilogram for fresh sirloin steak.
It means customers now have to call on members of staff to fetch their meat from the cold store instead after being left with empty shelves.
The store giants confirmed that they have had to take measures at the story but said there were “no plans” to beef up security at other branches.
But one disgruntled shopper said: “It’s hardly convenient and makes a bit of a mockery of calling itself Tesco ‘Express’. I’d be better off shopping at one of the bigger stores at the weekend if this is going to carry on – at least then I’ll get to see what I’m buying.”
No-one at the store would comment.
However other local shopkeepers said they had sympathy with the decision.
Adnan Ulhaq, 27, manager of Ali’s Cave on nearby Lothian Road, said shoplifting is definitely on the rise during the credit crunch and has faced being stabbed with a syringe and other threats trying to prevent thieves getting away.
He added: “The mum’s will usually put something in the pram and when challenged will just say they ‘forgot’ to pay for it.
“There was also a guy in his seventies trying to get away with about a fiver’s worth of stuff. But when we searched him we found a pair of £110 sunglasses from Black and Lizars across the road.
“Some of the things stolen lately could be regarded as essentials – things like razor blades. But we also lose a lot of pharmaceuticals such as aspirin.”
Lothian and Borders Police have also been monitoring an increase in store thefts since the credit crunch took hold.
A spokesman said: “Compared to last year there has been an increase in reported shoplifting in Edinburgh.”