Towcester Waitrose Criticised Over Customer Cash Theft


February 06, 2020 - 1723 views

Report by Steve Edwards

A shopper at Towcester Waitrose has slammed the store for its apparent lack of help when she was a victim of theft in the store last week.  

Shivani Gupta visited the store on 31st of January. On the way in she used the cash machine near the entrance and put the £250 she’d drawn out in her wallet and placed that into her handbag before going shopping in the supermarket. When she got to the checkout, she realised that the money had been stolen while she was shopping.  

A regular  shopper at the store, Shivani said, "After staff had indicated that this wasn’t the first time it had happened in their store I was taken to the customer service team. A staff member came over to assist me but he just told me to call the police before they would help me and then nonchalantly walked away.”  

After asking staff to keep an eye out to see if the wallet got handed in and for them to call her, Shivani says that they refused and told her to come into the store and check in a day or two.  

Things became even more frustrating for Shivani when she asked the store to check the CCTV and pass the footage on to the police but she said the staff member ‘categorically refused to do so’. Shivani told Daventry radio, “Apparently helping distressed customers is against their policy!” She added, “I found it extremely unhelpful and non-empathetic! Even when my husband rang a bit later he was refused any help and it seemed that shoulders were just being shrugged!”  

Mrs Gupta told us about her story and said, “The way the whole situation has been dealt with by Waitrose & Partners is appalling and frankly has put me off going in there again because evidently they don’t care if a thief is in operation in their premises. Their customers' safety is not their priority or even in their job description. As informed to us by the staff member - they apparently don’t even have enough CCTV cameras to cover the store! This is when they are aware of such incidents from previous times!”  

Shivani Gupta: "I feel so depressed and scared from this incident!”.  

Although Waitrose staff told her that there were GDPR implications, Shivani said, “I never asked for the footage to be passed on to me, but to be given to the police against the crime reference number given to them. Still they refused”.  

After posting about her experience on social media and trying to raise awareness amongst Towcester residents, Northants Police became involved. Shivani says, “They initially had said the incident was a petty crime but a very helpful lady police officer rang me and said she was going to the store to check the CCTV. She later rang me back confirming the theft and that a woman had been seen in the footage, digging into my handbag, as I turned towards the aisles to pick food items. I don’t know why they would not help me as a victim when I was in the store and in a state of distress. I also feel so depressed and scared from this incident!”.  

In a warning to other shoppers, Shivani said, “I do hope that the investigation helps find these criminals and incidents like these can be stopped. I had £500 in that wallet and it’s all gone now, and it is a really distressing experience. I can only urge people to be safe and vigilant, and hope that this never happens to anyone.”

Waitrose Towcester has been approached for comment.

Images: Stock images and by permission of Mrs Gupta

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