Tesco has enlisted a former professional shoplifter to give the grocer advice on how to stay ahead in terms of crime in its stores.

In a campaign, called Eyes Wide Open, Tesco has created a staff training video starring the former shoplifter to give tips on how to ‘thief proof’ the stores.

Introducing the video, Tesco retail and logistics director David Potts said: “Shoplifting is an industry-wide problem and presents a challenge for retailers and manufacturers as well as the police and the courts. Despite its image as a victimless crime the reality is very different. As well as the financial harm it causes to businesses large and small the proceeds of the crime are also often used to fund drug use and other serious criminal activity leading to major problems in local communities. It is an even bigger challenge during an economic slowdown when such crime increases.

“The Eyes Wide Open project reminds us how important a role our staff have. Luckily for us, it shows us that thieves hate what our customers tell us they love - clear aisles and attentive staff - which is exactly what our former shoplifter says he fears most.”

Tesco said the goods that shoplifters steal each year from the grocer would fill 13,500 lorries.

The video shows the former shoplifter talking through the type of goods thieves will target to maximise gains, with obvious items such as DVDs and alcohol, and less obvious products such as nappies and cheddar cheese.

Potts added: “It seems that above all, eye contact and a friendly smile from our staff is a real turn-off for a thief. So by reminding our staff to keep focussing on all the activities that give our customers a great shopping experience – whether that is sharing a smile and a greeting on the shop floor or keeping the aisles clear – we can combat shoplifting.”