Monday 14 October 2019

Caught orange handed - fake tan is most shoplifted item in pharmacies

It has emerged that fake tan is the product most commonly stolen from Irish pharmacies. Stock picture
It has emerged that fake tan is the product most commonly stolen from Irish pharmacies. Stock picture
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

They may not have been caught red-handed, but their palms will likely remain orange for some time.

It has emerged that fake tan is the product most commonly stolen from Irish pharmacies.

Sun-starved tanning enthusiasts - or possibly their black-market suppliers - are targeting outlets in a big way, with thefts of fake tan making up half of all stolen items.

Cosmetics and perfume are also targets of shoppers who help themselves to merchandise without paying.

Fake tan can vary in price, costing an average of €24 but going up to €45 for higher-end brands.

A survey from the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) found three-quarters of all pharmacies have been the victim of "at least one crime" over the past 12 months, but most have been hit multiple times.

It highlighted particular concern about the growing level of violence, with staff threatened with knives, syringes and even guns.

The findings showed 93pc of pharmacies that were affected experienced shoplifting, with 11pc enduring a break-in and others fraud - a crime on the increase.

Some 17pc had controlled or other prescribed drugs stolen in the past year.

And 13pc were victims of a raid, double the number compared with 2016.

However, the survey showed pharmacists were less likely to report crime to gardaí than a year previously.

"Ireland's pharmacies are at the centre of communities nationwide, it is unacceptable that they are persistently subjected to high levels of crime. This is a threat that cannot be ignored any longer," said Daragh Connolly, president of the IPU.

"The gardaí need to be tasked with tackling this issue and be given the resources required to do so in a meaningful way.

"Shoplifting continues to be the most prevalent crime against pharmacies.

"Fake tan is the single most commonly stolen item, at 50pc, along with other cosmetics and perfume.

"Meanwhile, almost a quarter of pharmacies (24pc) have had cash taken."

Mr Connolly said what is "undoubtedly the most sinister and concerning crime example" is the high level of thefts of medicines, as 17pc of pharmacies had controlled or prescribed drugs stolen in the past year.

He called for a more visible Garda presence in communities, saying 96pc of pharmacists feel increasing visibility would have a very positive impact on reducing crime.

There is particular concern about the level of violence suffered by pharmacists.

"Pharmacists nationwide are being threatened with knives, syringes and guns in 21pc of cases where a weapon was used.

"This is a terrifying ordeal for any staff or patients to experience who have the misfortune to witness a violent raid.

"While 65pc of those who did report a crime were pleased with the Garda response, unfortunately 35pc were not," he added.

Irish Independent

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