Shoppers using self-checkouts stole more than £1.6bn from grocery retailers last year, according to new research.

A study found that 19% of customers confessed to stealing at the automated checkouts.

Fruit and vegetables were the most commonly stolen items with an average of £15 of fresh produce taken a month, the survey of 2,600 shoppers showed.

The study showed 57% of the thieves said the first time they’d stolen was when the till did not work, but they took more products after discovering the scam, the Daily Telegraph reported. urged retailers to monitor the checkouts more closely and warned shoppers that being arrested over low-value items such as fruit and vegetables was not worth the risk.