Card Factory is offering its customers plastic bags without handles in order to sidestep the Government’s plastic bag 5p levy.

A Card Factory store employee told trade title PRW the retailer had cut the tops off bags to give to customers.

Under the rules, introduced in October, large retailers must charge 5p for throwaway plastic bags.

However, they do not need to charge for a plastic bag without handles.

A spokeswoman for Card Factory, which this week posted a rise in sales in the 11 months to December 31, said: “The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has confirmed that not charging for bags without handles complies with the regulations as they stand.”

Retail Week understands that Card Factory is still offering a “range” of bags, including some with handles, depending on what the customer has bought.

Last month Tesco revealed plastic bag usage among its customers had plunged 78% since the levy was introduced.