Store is peppered with meat thieves

Retailers warned that an area is suffering a shoplifting epidemic – of posh meat and biscuits. Despite police officers stepping up the fight against crime by launching a new security marking system, unperturbed thieves are stealing vast quantities of stea

Retailers warned that an area is suffering a shoplifting epidemic - of posh meat and biscuits.

Despite police officers stepping up the fight against crime by launching a new security marking system, unperturbed thieves are stealing vast quantities of steak and expensive meat joints, and flogging them to recession-hit middle class families.

Gilbert Abou-Haydor, manager at Marks & Spencer in Kilburn High Road, said the store has suffered a large rise in thefts of their top end meats and biscuits, and that the problem had got so bad he has resorted to electronically tagging his meats.

He said: "Shoplifters are stealing from our meat section. Yesterday a man headed straight to our meat counter and scooped up about ten pieces of steak.

"When I asked him if he intended to buy them he said no and put them back. Some are so persistent - you throw them out but they lurk by the doors ready to come in again when the security guards aren't working."

Council officers think thieves are stealing more and more expensive meat and luxury biscuits, and selling them to cash-strapped customers who can no longer afford the fine dining experience.

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Carmen Jones, senior community safety officer at Camden Council, said: "The shoplifters come and steal from shops like M&S and then sell it round the corner or in the local pub."

Police from Brent and Camden who patrol the high road have vowed to tackle the phenomenon by handing out property markers to retailers to help track down their stolen goods.

So far nearly 30 retailers have signed up to the scheme.

Maureen Flannery, deputy head of Brent Council's community partnership trust, which oversees policing in the area, said: "We are determined to stop these thieves.

"We want to raise the confidence of people so that they can help tackle crime by signing up to the scheme."

If the markers are successful in Kilburn High Road, it will be rolled out to other parts of the borough.

kate.ferguson@archant.co.uk

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