Tesco has attached security tags to their shopping baskets in an attempt to curb theft prompted by the new 5p bag charge.

Shoppers are stealing baskets from supermarkets

Shoppers are stealing baskets from supermarkets

The Tesco supermarket on Featherstall Road in Westwood, Oldham has had a third of their shopping baskets stolen in one week, since the government's 5p carrier bag tax was introduced.

The tax, introduced on October 5th, applies to all retailers with more than 250 employees and aims to reduce the litter associated with single-use plastic carrier bags by encouraging people to re-use their bags.

8.5 billion bags were given out in the UK in 2014 alone, as England becomes the last country to adopt the policy. Bag charges have been active in Wales since 2011, Northern Ireland from 2013 and Scotland from 2014.

Tesco gave away hundreds of the stronger 10p bags in the preceding, and checkout operators received special training on dealing with argumentative shoppers who don't bring their own bags but object to the charge.

Many shoppers reacted unfavourably to the new tax, and took to social media to share their outrage and methods of avoiding the charge.

A spokesman for Tesco said that while the vast majority of shoppers are bringing their own bags or paying the charge, around a third of their baskets were stolen.

"We need to provide the best possible service to our customers and this includes having baskets available for shoppers.

"As a result, to prevent further thefts security tags have been attached to the remaining baskets to prevent them being stolen."