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Daily Record
Daily Record
Kaiya Marjoribanks

Waitrose gets thumbs up for 'wine tower' after drop in shoplifting incidents

Waitrose has been granted permission to install a ‘wine tower’ in its Stirling store after finally convincing police and the licensing board that “excessive” shoplifting issues had been reduced to zero.

Stirling district licensing board had made a number of referrals on the store’s application since last year.

Police Scotland, the sole objectors to the bid, told the board last summer there had been 30 shoplifting cases in 18 months, describing the figures as “excessive”.

But yesterday (Tuesday) police withdrew the objection saying there had been no incidents reported to them since September 9 last year, leading the board to unanimously grant the application.

Board member Councillor Douglas Dodds asked the Waitrose representative for more details of measures which had been put in place to solve the problem and for assurances that these would be maintained.

“There have been procedural changes introduced including the beers, wines and spirits area being permanently manned,” said the agent. “New training has been given to staff as to how to deal with suspicious persons. They are now allowed to approach them whereas they hadn’t been in the past.”

An undercover inspection was also carried out by personnel from within the Waitrose organisation the board heard.

“It has been a wake-up call for staff manning the Stirling store,” added the agent.

“They have realised where there have been shortcomings and that these couldn’t be allowed to continue. The measures put in place appear to be working.”

Board chairman Councillor Danny Gibson said the comments were reassuring, but he wondered if the siting of the department at the back of the store had contributed to the thefts.

He said a request had been made by the board for information about “lost stock”, adding: “Police have said there have been no incidents of shoplifting reported - but not being reported doesn’t really reflect whether alcohol has been stolen or not”.

However a Waitrose representative said over 13 weeks the total value of stock lost had amounted to £380 - just 0.01 per cent of sales - none of which was alcohol.

Officers from community policing teams and also officers from the Forth Valley licensing team had engaged with the designated premises manager at the Waitrose store providing advice on how to prevent alcohol thefts of alcohol.

In October police said they had been told by Waitrose that only managers were allowed to approach people suspected of stealing, and that by the time a store manager was made aware it was often too late.

They had said they had been told there was no security guard as Stirling was low risk in comparison to some other areas.

However, police had also admitted to the board that while the issues with shoplifting could be measured, it was appreciated that the force could not quantify the good work carried out by the store to deter thieves and that the premises had been “fully cooperative”.

Click here for more news and sport from the Stirling area.

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