COLES supermarkets have employed undercover security officers to deter theft from Tweed and Gold Coast stores.
An undercover security officer, Kyle Carpenter, said that a lot of the time people were caught blatantly walking out with unpaid items.
"Because there's no one working the front or watching the door, people just walk out with whole trolleys full of groceries without paying for them," Mr Carpenter said.
"I had to chase this one guy through Tweed Centro Shopping Centre and caught him over the fence of someone's backyard.
"He had four cans of Red Bull, two bottles of milk and a bunch of DVDs all hidden in his pants."
The estimated total of the goods was over $100 which puts in to perspective just how easily consumers can scam goods to a high value.
While self-serve checkout lanes allow shoppers to scan, bag and pay for their items with little or no employee assistance, some customers have found a loophole for attaining goods - or at least a cheaper price.
This often includes incidents where customers are falsely scanning expensive items for cheaper products such as fruit and vegetables.
The head of communications and corporate affairs for Coles, Jon Church, said the vast majority of customers were honest but there had always been a small minority of people who chose to break the law by stealing. "Self-serve checkouts are a popular addition to our stores and offer customers a fast and convenient alternative to a standard checkout," Mr Church said.
"Again the vast majority of customers using these checkouts are honest, and we have not seen any material change in theft as a result of their introduction."
Media spokesman Jim Cooper said the supermarket stores had a range of measures in place to stop theft.
But maintaining customer loyalty was a priority.
"We are very careful to run our stores in a manner that treats customers as customers and not as thieves," Mr Cooper said. While Coles has not has not experienced a rise in thefts, the supermarket chain plans to deal with individuals discreetly while continuing to trust their consumers.
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