GPS tracking devices placed inside decoy cigarette packs are snaring thieves who steal from tobacco gantries.

The packs, made by Cennox in partnership with tobacco manufacturers, look, feel and weigh the same as a standard 20-pack of cigarettes. The company’s security services account director Derrick Pates told Retail Express that where a pack is deployed, the thief is caught in “80-90% of robberies".

"We’ve got around 900-1,000 of these packs in gantries across the UK, and almost on a weekly basis one is involved in a gantry robbery,” Pates said.

He added that the company has seen a huge increase in gantry robberies and burglaries over the past nine months. One store manager told Retail Express his shop was burgled four times in two months, all incidents were targeted at tobacco.

Speaking at the ACS Crime Report launch in March, Catherine Bowen, policy and stakeholder director at National Business Crime Solutions suggested that the rise may, in part, be driven by stolen goods finding their way back into convenience stores through illicit sales.

Cennox also uses GPS tracking technology in cash bundles to help catch store robbers. The technology, deployed in Tesco Express in Wigan led to the arrest and later imprisonment of former England Rugby League player Malcolm Alker earlier this year. The player and one other person had robbed the store with a machete. The £350 stolen, and the tracker were recovered at the scene of the arrest.

Read more on tackling illicit tobacco: Huge rise in reporting rates of illicit tobacco trading  attributed to new Imperial Tobacco app.