Lonely Planet Writer

A felt exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items has opened in London

A new felt exhibition has opened at London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery, featuring items commonly stolen from supermarkets.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

Entitled ‘Shoplifting, the exhibition includes items such as felt packets of bacon, pregnancy tests, headache tablets, condoms and bottles of alcohol.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

The exhibition was inspired by artist Lucy Sparrow’s time spent working in a supermarket. In it, she explains that shoplifting cost retailers £613m in the UK last year.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

Lucy takes a humorous look at the most frequently pilfered items in the UK. She also examines the types of people who steal them.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

She explains that 97% of this petty theft is committed by non-professional thieves. These range from teenagers carrying out acts of rebellion to celebrities who can easily afford to buy the goods.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

According to the artist, the lure of stuffing something in their pockets is too good to pass up for some people.  They will steal everything from designer goods to inexpensive items, even if getting caught might jeopardise a lucrative or high-profile career.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

For the exhibition, Lucy recreated the UK’s most shoplifted items in felt. She placed them alongside cabinets filled with felt Rolexes and cigarettes.

London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow
London has an exhibition of the UK’s most commonly stolen items made out of felt by Lucy Sparrow. Image: Lucy Sparrow

Her exhibition, Shoplifting, runs at the Lawrence Alkin Contemporary Art Gallery in London until 26 November.