Retailers are being advised to keep a much closer watch on their chilled fixtures due to a dramatic increase in bacon thefts.

The breakfast staple is being targeted by shoplifters because of its rapidly escalating price and the ease with which it can be pocketed and sold on.

The problem has become so extensive that one Londis store in Kitchens Garage, Burnley, has been forced to remove all bacon from its shelves. 

A sign on the fridge reads: “Due to the fact our bacon is so delicious the shoplifters can’t resist it. If you would like to try some, please ask at the tills.”

Customers who wish to purchase bacon must now wait for a member of staff to fetch it from chillers in the stock room.

Sergeant Phil Carter of Burnley Police confirmed the rise in bacon thefts. “Heroin addicts steal it, along with items such as coffee, in order to sell it for half the price of that in the shops,” he said. “If a wrap of heroin costs about £10, they need only sell a few packs of bacon to pay for it and they can do that in one fell swoop. They target stores such as Londis because they have 24-hour opening and are self-service.”

Sue Griffiths, who runs a Premier store in Colchester, Essex, said she had heard about the problem and was keeping a close eye on the situation. Meanwhile, David Smith, owner of Smiths Corner Stores in Lincolnshire, said he was keeping his bacon in the chiller next to the till where he could keep an eye on it.