Several celebrity friends of shamed TV chef Anthony Worrall Thompson have been fighting his corner. They told a packed press-conference that - "sneaking a few extra items out of the self checkout at a supermarket Isn't really theft" and "that we all do it" (which makes it okay).
Worrall Thompson explained that although he regretted what happened, he had had time to reflect and now felt differently. He could even now fight the charges against him.
"It's not as if he's done anything really bad is it?" Said a passer by I collared on the street. "There are murderers and pedophiles out there, why aren't the police doing more to catch them? Soft targets, that's what the police want. I've no doubt that his celebrity status played a part too. Just because he's a successful TV chef, they just want to bring everyone down to their level!"
It seems that he may have a point about the ubiquitous nature of theft from self-checkout machines. We did an unrepresentative sample of shoppers at a well-known supermarket and 50% of those we surveyed admitted to not paying for items items occasionally and nearly 30% admitted that not paying for items was a regular part of their shopping behaviour.
One Customer, who asked not to be named, Dwayne Dumbledore, said, "the best thing to do when buying fruit and veg, is to put the item through as a cheaper variety, and if you're stopped by security, claim it was an innocent mistake. I've made loads of savings that way!"
This behaviour has not gone unnoticed by the supermarkets, a spokesdrone for the Federation of United Confectioners and Supermarkets said:
"We had hoped that the self checkout system would be a convenient way of cutting costs, after-all, if you have six self-checkouts in a store, that's six checkout monkeys that you don't have to employ, cutting wages significantly. Unfortunately, there is evidence that this system is actually costing supermarkets more money than it saves, because of all of the stuff that gets tea-leafed!"
We asked TV Psychologist Quentin Lithp, what makes people steal from self-checkout machines?
"It seems that it maybe the result of an unresolved childhood trauma, maybe a toy being taken away by a parent for example, or perhaps not being allowed to watch a favourite television show. On the other hand, it could just be that people want lots of free stuff!"
It seems the roots of Worrall Thompson's cleptomania maybe indeed be found deep in his troubled childhood.
"I got caught stealing, once, when I was five." he explained, "I enjoyed stealing it. It's just as simple as that. Well, it's just a simple fact. When I want something, I don't want to pay for it. "