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Seattle prohibited use of the bags eight months ago, encouraging people to bring their own reusable bags or pay a five cent tax for paper carriers.

But thousands of dollars of extra produce has since gone missing, with store owners saying it is easy for thieves to walk in with reusable bags, conceal items in them and then walk out.

Asking shoppers to leave their bags or backpacks at the front of stores while they shop has been deemed impractical.

In a survey, more than one in five businesses in the city said shoplifting had become a problem because of the ban.

Shopper Ramona Lund said: “I’ve actually seen it happen. You can just see when they walk through and they load up their bag and they just go out the door.”

Read More:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk