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The law (in general) for shoplifting is, you have to be challenged outside the shop AFTER you have exited.

However, last night I had stopped to read the headlines of a newspaper by the door when the alarm went off - it was one of those security tag detectors - it was somebody coming IN!

A member of staff went across to them and asked to look in there bag, explaining that it was probably something in there that had set the alarm off.

The question is, what would the position be if the people had refused to allow the member of staff to look in their bag? Can the shop people insist on looking, or would they have to call the police?


This has happened to me, I have brought something (non food) in another shop and set off the alarm in this supermarket, but nobody has bothered me - because I was coming in?

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Tell them to bog off, they have no right.



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They have no right to SEARCH, but they can refuse you entry if you decline. The usual explanation is that as most of those anti-theft detectors look for the same trigger frequency, if another store has not deactivated it's tag, then this is due to their error, or because the item was stolen anyway. The store can ask you to prove purchase and deactivate it - or in the absence of this call the other store to alert them.

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Im a loss prevention officer with a leading retail shop. 9 times out of 10 when the eas gates or security gates go off I go over to assist the customers to find most people have had security tags left on from other stores etc. Dont be offended if we approach you, more than likely we are doing it to assist people in removing security tags our staff have "forgotten" to take off. I appreciate it is very embarrassing for people where sales people have not deactivated them, but most people are willing for us to try and identify the problem. Its a shame there are a select few security individuals that give us all bad names. Some customers of course dont want us to look in there bags which of course means theres not much we can do :D

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Indeed, in principle a person commits theft the moment he touches an item, if at that moment he has a dishonest intention to permenantly deprive the owner of it.


But in practice, it's a question of proof, as anyone who was stopped inside the store would usually be able to claim they intended to pay.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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