Guide on how to shoplift by Brit university newspaper angers retailers

February 22nd, 2011 - 2:01 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 22 (ANI): A guide on the “art of shoplifting” produced by a university newspaper in Britain has angered retailers who feel it could cost them financially.

The document encourages cash-strapped students to do away with moral concerns and use its step-by-step techniques for stealing.

The guide, which has been produced by student activists from Queen Mary College, University of London, coaches would-be thieves on how to swipe goods without being spotted by staff or CCTV.

Included in it are tips on how to exit stores without attracting suspicion, and it also suggests what lies to tell if caught by police.

Legal experts have said that the students could face prosecution over its publication, and retailers have branded them “highly irresponsible” for producing the guide.

It features prominently in their new student newspaper ‘The Paper’, whose front cover shows rioters occupying the roof of the building.

The newspaper was put together with money from the Centre for Ethics and Politics at the college’s School of Business and Management, which is ultimately funded by the taxpayer.

Queen Mary has defended the shoplifting advice by claiming it is “satirical”. But there is little hint of humour in the thieving tips.

Andrew Dodd, spokesman for trade association the British Retail Consortium, raised the possibility of the editors being prosecuted for inciting shoplifting.

“This guide is extremely irresponsible, if not illegal. Everyone involved in it should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging people to steal from shops,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

“Shop crime is no laughing matter because it imposes a huge financial cost on retailers and then on to honest shoppers who end up paying more for their goods.

“There is also significant human cost to thousands of incidents each year where shop staff intervene to try and prevent shoplifting and are physically or verbally abused,” he stated.

The guide was originally published in an Australian student newspaper whose editors were prosecuted although charges were later dropped.

Holly Webb, a barrister specialising in criminal law at London’s 23 Essex Street chambers, said that the current editors could face prosecution for reproducing it.

“The editors could be prosecuted but it would ultimately be a policy decision for the police and CPS whether or not to proceed against them,” Webb stated. (ANI)

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