For 5 days in December, Langford Garden Centre in Bedfordshire was filmed by the production crew for Channel 5?s ?It Takes a Thief to Catch a Thief?; a programme that focuses on the impact of shoplifting on small businesses.
Keith Hichisson of Langford Garden Centre commented “The idea was to test our security, identify our weaknesses and put them right. I realise that everyone’s premises are different, but our security problems will be similar and I think others could gain from some of the points that were identified at Langford.”
He continued “Most of our problems stem from the fact that we started out as a nursery, and the garden centre has developed around the nursery. Therefore we’ve not had the luxury of flattening the site and starting from scratch. The production company were working with the police, security companies and a reformed shoplifter. The shoplifter managed to steal around ?100 worth of goods from us. I will say that we were set up because they got away with the goods while interviewing two of us and at lunchtime when we have the least number of staff working. The main point he raised does not cost a penny, and that is speaking to your customers. All it takes is just a ‘Good morning!’ or ‘Good afternoon!’ which shows that that person has been noticed, and shoplifters don’t like to be noticed.”
“Other points that Channel 5 put right for us, at our entrance we have an automatic door and we have had shoplifters working as a team where one does the shoplifting whilst the other waits at the entrance, and ?opens the door to let the other out. This is the method the production company used. We now have an automatic swing barrier that works one way, although this would not stop the determined thief, it is another barrier to make life a little more difficult for them. At our till area we did have a lot of clutter and the windows looking out were covered up to stop the sun at the tills which made life unpleasant in the summer. We have now unblocked the windows and have a one way reflective film over the windows allowing us to see out but the would-be shop lifter can’t see if they are being watched.”
The series?It Takes a Thief to Catch a Thief?is aired on Thursdays at 8pm on channel 5 and the programme featuring Langford Garden Centre will be broadcast in April.
Jeremy Davies, HTA Security Advisor comments “The British Retail Consortium (BRC) annual crime survey recently indicated customer theft accounted for 82 per cent of all retail crime by volume in 2012-13. This was the highest level for nine years. Against this backdrop of increasing levels of retail crime, the main high street retailers have improved their security measures over the last few years in an effort to combat customer theft. These improvements have no doubt prompted thieves to look for easier targets such as Garden Centres. I recommend to business owners to consider the following Top 5 means to prevent theft:
1. Create & Implement a Security Policy
2. Staff Training & improved awareness
3. Security Tagging Systems & CCTV
4. Stock position & shop layout
5. Mirrors & Signage”
HTA members can access a free security advice line provided by GCS (GB) Ltd who specialise in security and loss prevention guidance and support for garden retail businesses of all sizes. Call the advice line on 07889 719690. Further details available at?www.gcsgb.com