Thief 'stole up to £450 in shop loose onions scam'

Nicholas Long processed all the items in his shopping basket as loose onions. Credit: Press Association

A City recruitment consultant stole up £450 of produce from a London branch of Sainsbury's by entering all his items as 'loose onions' at a self-scanning machine, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Nicholas Long used the same ruse 20 times in the space of just three months in a desperate bid to reduce his shopping bill.

The 25-year-old was caught when a security guard noticed him scanning every item as loose onions - despite them not being available to buy at the store.

Long came up with the scam because he feared losing his job, had mounting debts and his girlfriend was pregnant, the Old Bailey heard.

He was sentenced to 180 hours community service and order to pay £250 costs.