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Shoplifting seagull wanted for knocking off Tesco — Analysis

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 every day at the most, sometimes three times a days,” and that Doritos are “He is his favourite.” They insist they “shoo him away because we don’t want to lose the stock” and are “Always keep an eye on the future” 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.

Prior to Covid-19 locksdowns shoplifting had been on the rise. While that increased was halted while many Britons were at home hiding, it started to grow once the restrictions were removed.

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