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Customers warned over trolley pound-pinching at Romford Tesco

PUBLISHED: 13:04 22 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:41 22 January 2014

The supermarket has warned customers to be vigilant. Picture: PA

The supermarket has warned customers to be vigilant. Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Pound-pinching pilferers have been using a special “gadget” to steal coins from trolleys in a supermarket, shoppers are reporting.

Now shoppers are being urged to be vigilant following the mini-crimewave at Gallows Corner Tesco in Bryant Avenue, Romford.

Jean Wright, of Gidea Park, a retired retail manager, claims to have been caught out by the thieves three times in the last couple of months.

She says it has happened when she has left her trolley unattended.

“You leave the trolley to look at clothes or food,” she said, “then someone who has the gadget to remove the coin, steals the £1 from under your nose. You don’t realise until you return the trolley and wonder what happened!”

One pound coins are needed in many supermarkets to release trolleys from parks and are used to encourage shoppers to return them.

It is thought thieves have been using sawn-off trolley-release keys to carry out their crime.

“I was talking to a customer in Tesco and he said that people cut the chain off one of the trolleys with cutters and then go around the store,” said Jean.

“It must be like what the trolley collectors carry when you have trouble trying to release the chain or releasing your own pound coin and they do it for you.”

A spokesman for the supermarket chain confirmed the problem at its store and warned shoppers to keep an eye out for thieves.

He said: “We are aware of a small number of incidents, so we would advise any customers who do see anything suspicious to report it to our customer service colleagues.”

No reports had been made to Havering Police – who urged anyone who falls victim to call the non-emergency 101 number.

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