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Cadbury's £1.50 chocolates kept in security boxes leave shoppers bemused

The 120g bars on sale at a Co-op store in Cambridge were spotted in clear plastic boxes which require a member of staff to help purchase them.

A shopper noticed a number of Cadbury's products at a Co-op Food had been placed inside anti-theft cases even though some cost £1.50. (Credit: Jack Johnston / Twitter)
A shopper noticed a number of Cadbury's products at a Co-op Food had been placed inside anti-theft cases even though some cost £1.50. (Credit: Jack Johnston / X)

A stunned shopper has revealed how Cadbury's £1.50 chocolate bars and Easter eggs are the latest food items to be locked in plastic security boxes amid Britain's shoplifting crisis.

The 120g confectionary bars on sale at a Co-op Food store in Cambridge were spotted in clear plastic boxes which require a member of staff to help purchase them. Student Jack Johnston, 21, who lives in the city, saw the chocolate bars at the weekend and was left 'completely bemused'.

He told Yahoo UK: "We’ve seen security tags on butter, cheese, coffee and now Cadbury’s fruit and nut? Honestly, my first thought was, 'What stage of capitalism have we reached here? What issue is this meant to be solving?'" Johnston went into the shop to find a sweet treat to celebrate his university's end-of-term, and the £5.60 Cadbury's Creme Egg in a security case caught his eye.

Johnston saw the chocolate bars shortly afterwards and posted a photo to X (formerly Twitter) with the caption "freaked out by the cruel co-op and their imprisoned confectionary section." He added: "I’m glad I wasn’t there for those chocolate bars, though, because I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than asking a store assistant to unlock a security case so you can access the Cadbury’s Caramel."

Jack Johnston posted a photo of the Cadbury's chocolates locked up in an anti-theft cases that he spotted at a Co-operative on Milton Road in Cambridge.
Jack Johnston posted a photo of the Cadbury's chocolates locked up in an anti-theft cases that he spotted at a Co-operative on Milton Road in Cambridge. (Credit: Jack Johnston / X)

Others online echoed his thoughts and were also baffled by the move to put chocolates in plastic cases, with many pointing out that the cost of living crisis may be the reason for the move. The chocolates and eggs are the latest in an increasing number of regular supermarket items being boxes in security cases as store bosses and police struggle to stop them being shoplifted.

One said: "I feel like people not being able to afford £1.50 chocolate is a bigger issue than whatever... they think they’re solving. Not very ‘co-operative’ of them."

Others who also shop at Co-op have shared more examples of low-cost items placed in anti-theft cases. One shopper shared a photo of fabric softeners costing £2.20 that received similar treatment, and another store placed half-empty ketchup bottles on the aisles labelled as "display only".

A spokesperson for Co-op told Yahoo News that they have products in security cases to prevent theft and keep their employees safe, as shoplifting can sometimes be "a flashpoint for violence, attacks, and anti-social behaviour towards shopworkers."

The spokesperson said: "Products placed in security cases are typically high value products targeted by criminals, however local decisions can be taken by a store to place other items in security cases where there is a local challenge or issue.”

Lurpak butter's in an Aldi were put inside nets with security tags to deter shoplifters.
Lurpak butter's in an Aldi were put inside nets with security tags to deter shoplifters.

Why is Britain having a shoplifting crisis?


Experts have said Britain's shoplifting epidemic is proving hugely costly to retailers nationwide.

James Davey, a UK Retail Correspondent, says there has been an increase in shoplifting across the entire country. He said: "Britain has seen a massive increase in retail crime, particularly shoplifting and violence against shop workers over the last 18 months. And it's costing the industry about a billion pounds a year and a similar amount is being spent by the industry in trying to deter this crime."

This means shops are taking preventative measures to stop people from shoplifting, and often, cheap, seemingly unexpected products have that extra layer of security because they tend to be in high demand.

Individual protein bars were placed in clear security cases at a Tesco.
Individual protein bars were placed in clear security cases at a Tesco.

A viral video filmed in an Aldi in 2023 showed a box of Lurpak butter inside a black net with a security tag attached to it. Last year, a Reddit user posted a photo of individual protein bars at a Tesco inside the security boxes.

In 2022, photos taken inside Tesco stores located in Wales found mostly beauty products inside anti-theft cases, such as a pair of £3 eyelashes and £11.50 toothbrushes.

Primark stores are trialling stickers to seal bags in order to prevent shoplifting.
Primark stores are trialling stickers to seal bags in order to prevent shoplifting.

It isn't just items on the shop floor that are getting this treatment either. Primark has now begun trialling the use of placing a large sticker to seal their customers' shopping bags shut after they have paid for their purchase.