MORRISONS is using ‘robocop’ cameras in supermarket aisles to stop customers from stealing expensive booze.
It installed branded Safer Pod S1s next to alcohol as a deterrent against the shoplifting epidemic plaguing Britain.
The stationary four-legged safety devices are equipped with HD cameras and a state-of-the-art 120db siren system to alert against thieves.
They are powered by a solar panel battery and can be moved around the store to problem areas while operated by a control room via an app.
Morrisons is currently reviewing the results of their trial in “a handful” of stores over the Christmas period.
One CCTV monitoring station was seen stationed next to premium whisky on Monday with the warning “we’re keeping an eye on things to keep your store safe”.
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It was spotted by customer Mark Powlett, of Redditch, Warwickshire, who compared the new security system to the cyborg law enforcer in 1987 film RoboCop.
He wrote on X/Twitter: “Wow Morrisons how welcoming Robocop feels. I’m typing this as I wait for the one member of staff covering all the self service tills.
“I’m also being filmed there because actually paying staff to work when you can just make customers feel like criminals is lovely isn’t it?”
But Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), said: “There is no doubt that cameras do have a deterrent effect and we are supportive of such measures aimed at reducing violence, threats and abuse at work.
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“To act as a deterrent to would-be attackers, the public must be fully aware they are in use and there must be a police response where incidents do occur.
“Retail staff are an important part of our communities, their role must be valued, respected and protected.”
The award-winning pods are usually found on building sites to provide a 30-metre wide 360 degree detection zone continually scanning for intruders.
It is understood to be the first time one of the devices has been used inside a supermarket, paving the way for future use in other stores if deemed successful.
Expanding into the retail sector comes as reports of store thefts in England and Wales were up 25 per cent in the past year, according to ONS data revealed in October.
A Morrisons spokesman said: “We launched the Safer Pod 1 initiative in a handful of our stores over the Christmas period and we are currently reviewing the results.
“The aim of this was to deter crime while also helping to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers.”
A spokesman for Safer Group added: “We have been working alongside Morrisons to trial the Safer POD S1 over the Christmas period.
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“The device is a cutting-edge, intruder detection system to enhance the safety and security of Morrisons’ stores.
“The Safer POD S1 is designed to act as a deterrent to potential shoplifters by providing an additional layer of safety in high-risk areas such as the alcohol aisle.”