Late last year we completed a loss prevention assessment for a medium-sized regional ‘card and occasions’ company in Newcastle Upon Tyne. They had seen a marked rise in stock going missing over the last two quarters and were becoming concerned, especially seeing as it was always specifically the same type of product.
We initially heard about the regional managers’ concerns regarding this through a client we were working with on another job. We were recommended to them and they got in touch with us and eventually took us up on the offer of doing a Loss Prevention Assessment at the store having stock concerns.
As with all of our Loss Prevention Assessments, we came out to the store and carried out a robust and lengthy physical walk-through of the store itself, its storage areas and its staff rooms. We looked at the stock/display placements and the security monitoring of them. We then gave our findings back in a comprehensive report to the client.
In this case, after the walk-through, we were asked to centre our attention on where the client’s Yankee Candles were stored and displayed as these were the most common type of stock that was going missing and unaccounted for to quite a high volume.
After looking at the public-facing display stands for this product and making note of their positioning against where they were able to be monitored on the client’s CCTV cameras, we were quickly able to ascertain there was a coverage blind-spot and that the stands themselves could be easily moved inches to the right if careful so they would go out of view of the CCTV cameras. We then did a drop-sample check on CCTV footage covering the stand and came to discover that it seemed to move and then get shielded by the body of one of the client’s cleaners.
It started to appear like the client had concentrated so much of their concerns around whether the deliveries had been correct in the first place, whether certain products were too close to the door for shoplifters to take advantage of or whether staff were pinching from the storage yard at the back, they never considered that the most brazen option was the correct one:
We subsequently worked with the client, as an addition to the Loss Prevention Assessment findings we presented, and set up a ‘sting’ to see if our gut-feeling was right. Using covert cameras secretly and temporarily installed directly behind the stand and thus giving a view point that the blind-spot couldn’t, we had the client accept delivery of an “exclusive new range” of Yankee Candle products and put them out on display immediately with a ‘fake’ note put up to all staff asking them to promote the range heavily.
Sure enough, the next morning we caught the cleaner we’d highlighted in our Loss Prevention Assessment discreetly moving the entire cardboard stand out of view of CCTV cameras under the pretence of cleaning it, taking products from the stand and putting them in her bucket and her coverall and then making her way off the shop floor.
Our client eventually confronted the cleaner and she, after gentle persuasion, admitted that she had been taking company stock and selling them on an eBay account. She was summarily dismissed and the matter was referred to local police.
If you run or manage a business that you feel could benefit from a Loss Prevention Assessment being carried out then contact us today on 07711 863 944.