Shoplifting seagull wanted for knocking off Tesco
One crafty seagull has become such a skilled shoplifter it is believed to have pilfered some $375 (£300) worth of crisps in a single year from the Tesco in Paignton, England, local media reports revealed on Tuesday, adding that the enterprising bird had been caught red-taloned on film.
Known as “Steven Seagull” to the Devon town’s inhabitants, the bird is believed to visit the store as often as three times a day, waiting for humans to open the automatic doors before darting in and emerging with a bag of potato chips firmly clasped in its beak.
While it’s impossible to tell how much the seagull has actually nibbled out of Tesco’s profits, it is believed to have made off with some 37 pounds (17 kilograms) of food.
Employees admit “it happens at least once a day, often three times,” and that Doritos are “his favorite.” They insist they “shoo him away because we don’t want to lose the stock” and are “always keeping an eye out” but the bird manages to elude them anyway, charming the town’s inhabitants, who film him and watch his antics.
While there’s no indication Steven Seagull learned his trade by watching humans, shoplifting of the non-avian variety has been on the rise in the UK, with a steep decline in prosecutions as police complain stealing goods worth under $250 (£200) has been effectively decriminalized.
Shoplifting was on the rise prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns, and while that increase stalled while most Britons were hiding out at home, it began to increase once more once restrictions were lifted.