Shoppers warned self-service 'trick' to scan expensive products as cheaper goods could land them in hot water

SHOPPERS who use a trick to pay less for expensive fruit and vegetables at supermarket self-checkouts have been warned the crime could land them in big trouble. 

Lawyers say anyone using scams where expensive products are scanned as cheaper ones could see people before a court on fraud charges if they are caught. 

The warning came after a woman wrote in to News.com.au's Sisters In Law, which allows people to put their legal questions to sisters and legal eagles Alison and Jillian Barrett, about a friend’s supermarket scam. 

She said when her pal uses the self-service checkouts, she regularly scans more expensive fruit and veg — such as avocado — by selecting a cheaper brown onion instead.

The woman said her friend believed it was not stealing as she was still paying something for it, claiming "everyone does it".

But the lawyer siblings replied, advising: "It doesn’t matter how your friend tries to justify her behaviour, her deceitful conduct in intentionally not paying full price is against the law.

"Your friend’s technique of using the self-service checkout to pass off more expensive items as cheaper ones cheats the system by underpaying. 

"Her fraudulent behaviour is just one of many tricks employed by self-service thieves to avoid payment."

Alison and Jillian, based in Australia, said the "tricks" were costing supermarkets a fortune every year and grocery prices were being ramped up to recoup losses. 

Although this case is based in Australia where laws can vary, experts in the UK have said its a form of shoplifting – which is theft.

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That could land you in trouble with the police and the courts if you are caught.

Self-checkouts can weigh items to make sure you are checking out the right product. 

Staff and security guards are also employed to make sure they are used correctly.

But the supermarkets still rely on customers' honesty. 

It comes after it was previously revealed a staggering £3.2 billion in groceries is nicked each year.

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Around one in four Britons admitted to have stolen something using a scanner, whether by accident or on purpose, according to the most recent figures.

This equates to an average of £23 per shopper or a total of £3.2 billion a year, said a survey of more than 2,600 adults by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk.

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