THERE’S a new criminal craze to rival metal thefts – with CHEWING GUM the unlikely booty.
Lawyers said the sticky substance was big business for crooks who were swiping up to £800-worth of the stuff to send back to Romania, where it has effectively become a form of currency.
Dean Lampard, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The theft of large quantities of chewing gum is becoming big business.”
Two Romanian men were jailed last week for stealing more than £1,000 of chewing gum from an Asda store in Taunton and a shop in Norfolk.
And PC David Walton, of West Mercia Police said it was a growing problem in the Midlands and North Yorkshire.
He said: “We are not talking about a couple of packs; we are talking about five, six, seven maybe eight hundred pounds’ worth in one go.
“In Romania, they will give you sticks of chewing gum as opposed to change.”
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We did have a few of these thefts last year, about £200 worth at a time, they used to just grab a box off the shelf and either try to carry it straight out of the store or empty the smaller individual chewing gum packets into shopping bags.