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31st Jan 2019

Teenager jailed for putting PlayStation 4 through self-service checkout till as fruit

Wil Jones

He paid £8 for the games console

A French teenager has been jailed after he fooled a supermarket self-service checkout into charging him just €9 (£7.86) for a PlayStation 4.

The 19-year-old man – named by the French media as just ‘Adel’ – took the games console off the shelves at a supermarket in Montbeliard, eastern France, in September. He weighed it as if it was 6lb of fruit, then put the sticker with that low price on the machine and ran it through a self-service checkout.

Adel then reportedly sold the PlayStation for €100 (£87.43), in order to afford a train ticket to his home town of Nice.

The teenager was only caught because he returned to the same store the next day, and attempted to pull the same trick again.

He was sentenced to four months in prison at a magistrates court in Montbeliard, though he did not appear in person for the hearing.

A PlayStation 4 usually retails for about £250 for a standard 500GB unit with one game, going up to £350 for the 1TB PlayStation Pro model.

A 2016 report by the University of Leicester suggests that self-service checkouts in shops “generate significantly high rates of loss” and creates an environment that encourages theft because any potential scammer does not have to interact with another human in order to alter the price.

It went on to state that “retailers could find themselves accused of making theft easy for people who otherwise would not be tempted to commit crime”.

A BBC report predicted that the number of self-service checkouts around the world would grow by around 240,000 to 468,000 between 2016 and 2021.