British retailer Co-op has announced the expansion of its anti-theft ‘dummy display packaging’ trial for its higher-value products.

The anti-theft trial is designed to address increasing crime cases across the country that have been attributed to a growing number of persistent offenders and local organised criminal gangs.

Shoppers take the dummy display case to the cashier where it is replaced with the actual product.

Co-op plans to implement this solution across its higher-value products including coffee, washing powder, and laundry gel.

The retailer has expanded the trial in response to the rising cases of crime, reporting almost 1,000 incidents in the six months to June 2023.

Co-op Operations director Kate Graham said: “Crime in many communities is increasing, and it is known that repeat and prolific offenders and, local organised criminal gangs are driving serious incidents of brazen and violent theft in stores.

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“It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and often a flashpoint for attacks and abuse towards our colleagues. Co-op continues to invest significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe. This includes extending our use of dummy display cases to deter the incidents of ‘bulk-shoplifting’ or, ‘looting’, as it has been described, where criminals sweep products off shelves for resale.

“While we are doing all we can, we also need the police to play their part as too often, [police] forces fail to respond to desperate calls by our store teams and criminals operate in communities without any fear of consequences.”

Earlier this month, Co-op revealed plans to remove the ‘best before’ dates from some of its fresh produce lines.