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Former “Britain’s Greatest Fraudster” joins fight against shoplifting


Agon Systems have enlisted the help of a former criminal mastermind to test a new anti-shoplifting ‘Concept Tag’ as the cost of retail crime continues to increase year on year.

In a bid to combat retail crime and deter shoplifters, Agon Systems have announced a deal with Tony Sales, dubbed “Britain’s Greatest Fraudster”, who will test the effectiveness of their new concept security tag.

Switzerland-based manufacturers, Agon Systems, are evolving from standard Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tagging systems. CEO of Agon, Sean Welch, claims that “conventional EAS tagging systems have become less and less effective” and criminals have “found ways to defeat” them.

Agon will task Sales with the challenge of ‘breaking’ the Concept Tag to prove the product’s strength. The Concept Tag will be used to reduce shoplifting which, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) crime survey, was up 6% on average, year on year, by the close of 2013. Shoplifting reached its highest level for the 2012-2013 year since 2003, costing retail businesses £511m, according to Tony Lloyd, Chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

‘Mastermind’ Sales has evaluated that, “the trouble with loss prevention systems is that they are developed by honest, decent, hard working people. That’s the last thing you need! Only if you have seen the world through the eyes of a criminal can you possibly anticipate his next move.”

Sales reportedly cashed in on an estimated £10m through criminal activities and financial scams. He has reformed his career to aid UK retailers in their fight against retail crime and fraud, putting his ‘insider knowledge’ of ID, credit card, bank and internet fraud to use.

“That is why we have asked Tony Sales, a former mastermind of organised criminal gangs, to work with us”, said Welch. “We want him to use all of his knowledge and expertise to try and “break” the Concept Tag; because if he can’t, then frankly nobody can. And that challenge is not just about the security of the tag, but also the security of tag removal system, manufacture and supply.”

Sales has expressed his approval, stating, “I am very pleased to have been set this challenge by Agon and feel it shows real conviction on the part of that manufacturer in their product and a determination to deliver what they promise their retailer customers – an effective EAS system.”

Having been trialled at the JD Sports shop in Westfield Shopping Centre, Director of Loss Protection at JD Sports & Fashion Group Plc, Tim Edwards, has hailed the new system: “Initial trials indicate that use of the Concept Tag has significantly displaced crime from our store. The ROI would seem to be very favourable and we hope to extend use of the Tag across our estates internationally.”

Having produced over 200,000 EAS antenna, Agon Systems have had their technology utilised by high-profile retailers in the past 20 years. CEO Welch is cautious of the new Concept Tag reaching the wrong hands: “We don’t want our removal systems turning up on the dark web for sale for a few quid to anyone who wants one, like our competitors’.”

Welch explained that the Concept Tag comes out of six years of development and aims to “regain for retailers the advantage that EAS originally gave them.”

Published on Monday 15 December by Editorial Assistant

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