Retailers across England are falling victim to a scam in which large amounts of stock are being stolen from under their noses.

The scam, which has plagued retailers across London and now Leicester, sees fraudsters dressed as delivery drivers walking off with recently-received deliveries.

A parcel or pallet is delivered to shop premises by a legitimate carrier. A few minutes later a man appears in a yellow fluorescent jacket, speaking on a phone.

He makes sure to talk loud enough for store staff to hear the conversation in which retailers report him saying things such as: "Yes, I am in the store now. The parcels have been delivered and I will sort everything out. The correct items are on their way."

The man then concludes his call and informs staff that there has been a delivery mistake. Staff are duped into believing that a genuine error has occurred and hand over the delivered items.

"This is a simple scam with serious consequences for small stores," Grahame Collins, director of retail crime partnership City Watch said. "The key is for retailers to always ask for ID and not to be rushed into doing anything they don't feel comfortable with."