Supermarkets in Wimbledon crack down on the increasing theft of chewing gum multipacks.
Chewing gum multipacks are among the most frequently stolen goods from supermarkets in Wimbledon.
Sticky-fingered thieves are concentrating on these items as they are low-risk items.
Historically it is items like razorblades, alcohol, perfumes, and electrical goods, with a high re-sale value, which were stolen.
Supermarkets have toughened up on these products in the form of security tagging, but it is not cost-effective to do so for chewing gum.
Danny Wooden, Store Manager of Wimbledon Morrisons, said they use defensive merchandising which is putting less of the product on the shelf as a way of stopping the thieves stealing large quantities of chewing gum.
He said: “It seems ridiculous that someone would steal chewing gum.
“People are always looking for the next opportunity.
“It’s amazing how fast it all adds up, £300 is not unheard of. Then you times that by the number of people that attempt it.”
Mr Wooden also said it is not just his store and other stores in the area have similar problems.
The most common method of the thieves is to simply empty cases of the chewing gum into empty bags and then make a run for it.
Although it is a low-cost product it is causing a big problem for shop owners and security guards in the area.
These thieves show real gumption; Mr Wooden said it is often the same people who try it.
He added it often happens in patches, then it goes quiet for a while and then all of a sudden there is a large rise.
He said: “We recognise the same people.”
Wimbledon Morrisons try their best to avoid any sticky-situations by banning the thieves and having staff and security aware so that the multipacks of chewing gum are monitored with more vigour.