ANTI-THEFT devices have been fitted to packs of meat in a supermarket in Lille.
Managers at the Match store in the centre of the Nord Pas-de-Calais city refused to answer reporters' questions on why they had attached the large black devices to the packs, but company management said it was aimed at stopping thefts.
Staff at the Rue Solferino store said that food and alcohol were top of the shoplifters' shopping lists.
The black clips are more commonly seen on expensive clothing or on the top of spirits bottles but with meat hitting €30 a kilo for top cuts, the store has them on packs of pavé de bœuf or faux-filet. One client told France Info radio: "Meat has become a luxury."
President of consumer group UFC Que Choisir northern region, Robert Bréhon, told the station: "This means the store is looking at every customer as if they were a potential thief. Why not put tags on the carrots or the cauliflower with the excuse that it is to stop theft?"
But, three weeks before the launch of the Restos du Coeur winter meals campaign on November 28, Lille organiser Jean-Yves Vasseur told newspaper 20 Minutes: "It's disturbing. If people have to steal meat to eat then we are returning to the ear of Jean Valjean" (the 19th century hero of Les Misérables).