- The thieves grabbed a bag of booze, bottle of rosé and even a bystander’s phone
A pair of masked shoplifters have run into a London Tesco and brazenly helped themselves to bottles of booze before running out with their loot and even grabbing an onlooker’s phone – all as security guards and staff watch on.
The incident took place on England’s Lane in Belsize Park, an expensive area of north west London, as the UK’s shoplifting epidemic shows no sign of stopping.
The shocking moment is caught on film by a bystander at the shop and shows the two thieves at the fridge section of the store piling bottles of alcohol into a large bag.
One is wearing a blue jacket over an orange hoodie, a black tracksuit, and has a grey rucksack on.
The other is dressed in all black with a red hood.
One of the thieves soon dashes out carrying the Sports Direct bag full of booze, while the other appears to grab a four-pack and a bottle of rosé wine at the last second to add to the haul.
All the while, a security guard in a high-visibility jacket and a Tesco employee watch on and choose not to intervene even as a loud alarm rings in the background.
The robbery took place in front of stunned customers and the bystander filming the theft even appears to have his phone grabbed out of his hand by one of the shoplifters.
Leafy Belsize Park is one of the most affluent areas in the capital and has boasted a series of celebrity residents, including Noel Gallagher, Helena Bonham Carter, Martin Freeman and Chris Martin.
Retail bosses say the recent surge in shoplifting is costing stores £1billion a year.
Last year to March, police recorded 339,206 cases of shoplifting – but the British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimated the true figure was eight million, costing shops nearly £1billion across the year.
Criminal networks are travelling around the UK and ‘stealing to order’ in a manner resembling county lines gangs, the BRC said.
Popular goods to target include high-value electricals, alcohol and cigarettes.
The crime has now extended to everyday items from meat, cheese and laundry liquid to nappies and baby formula.
Currently, those who are charged with thefts of up to £200 do not need to appear in court, thanks to a rule change made in 2014.
But at the Labour Party Conference in October, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper pledged to remove this exemption in a bid to clamp down on shoplifting.
The BRC backed this proposal shortly after.
It is not yet clear whether any arrests were made.
MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police and Tesco for comment.