Sunday 27 May 2018

Shoplifters in Seattle: thefts rise after plastic bag ban

THE environmentally friendly American city of Seattle has suffered a spike in shoplifting after banning the use of plastic grocery bags.

Seattle prohibited use of the bags eight months ago, encouraging people to bring their own reusable bags or pay a five cent tax for paper carriers.


But thousands of dollars of extra produce has since gone missing, with store owners saying it is easy for thieves to walk in with reusable bags, conceal items in them and then walk out.


Asking shoppers to leave their bags or backpacks at the front of stores while they shop has been deemed impractical.


In a survey, more than one in five businesses in the city said shoplifting had become a problem because of the ban.


Shopper Ramona Lund said: "I've actually seen it happen. You can just see when they walk through and they load up their bag and they just go out the door."

Mike Duke, who runs the Lake City Grocery Outlet, said that since the ban started in July he has lost at least $5,000 (£3,300) in produce, and up to $4,000 (£2,700) in frozen food. He told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper: "We've never lost that much before."


Nick Allen

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