Several retailers have been trialling a new type of security tag-based anti-theft system called Chirp-protect, after learning about the product through the Association of Convenience Stores.

Whereas larger retailers, such as Tesco and M&S, use EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) security gates, these would be too bulky and impractical for a convenience store, claims Chirp-protect sales manager Michelle Miles. 

“Smaller store haven’t got room for EAS gates, they can’t get buggies in or wheelchairs,” she says. Instead, the Chirp-protect system relies on a small hub device, which can be located above the store exit. 


Retailers simply tag the products they deem to be at high risk of being stolen - products like meat, cheese, baby powder, coffee and premium candy. There are different types of tags for various different pack formats, and each can be removed by staff at the till point using a special device when a customer pays for their goods.

If a person approaches the store exit while the product’s tags are still attached, then an alarm alerts staff to the potential theft. The hub alarm can be set to sound when a tagged product is within one, two or three metres’ of the hub, depending on the size and layout of the store, explains Miles.

In addition, if the tags are removed by a would-be thief, they will set off an alarm.

Sandeep Bains, who has been trialling the product at Welcome Faversham in Kent, has found the system to be very effective. “You need to weigh up whether the investment’s going to repay itself, but it’s certainly a very good product and obviously we’ve already seen it in action so it definitely works,” he says.


Neil Godhania, who owns Neil’s Premier in Peterborough, was equally impressed. “To be honest with you, it’s been brilliant,” he told Convenience Store. “Very, very easy to install, it’s step-by-step instructions. And if you’re not sure what to do, just give Michelle a quick call. She’ll help you with it.”

Sue Nithyanandan, who owns Costcutter Epsom in Surrey, with husband Nithy, has also used Chirp-protect as a deterrent. “Shoplifting is always considered the bottom of the crimes, but it affects everybody,” she says. “If we are there, we will confront them [shoplifters], but we have told the staff not to, their safety is important. 

“My staff are loving it [Chirp-protect] because with steaks, we have managed to prevent it [theft],” she says.

“The shrinkage due to theft from the fresh category like meat and cheese was a problem and since the installation of these tags we have reduced this problem massively.”