Street meat: Hey, buddy, can I interest you in a steak?

Thieves are selling cheap meat on Melbourne streets selling stolen groceries for half price.

In the shadows of Melbourne’s carparks and even on the streets, criminals target the elderly and swap money for steak and even olive oil. are losing a large chunk of profit as a result, with $1,000 of meat going missing from a Coles in Richmond in just one afternoon.

Retail Crime Prevention Australia director Sebastian Brown said this had been happening for years but was only now being exposed.

“It’s happening every week and they get away with it,” he said.

“Majority of the time it’s younger thieves or people on drugs that go in supermarkets and steal bulk amounts of meat and go and sell it to people they know want to buy it. They even deliver it.”

Mr Brown said the younger thieves preyed on the elderly.

“They sell the groceries to them and might go and see them on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday to sell them the meat half price,” he said.

“It’s just an opportunity for the older people, it’s not the right thing to do but they don’t see it that way, it’s cheaper meat to them.”

Mr Brown said this illegal market was emerging as supermarkets jacked up the price of meat.

And while supermarkets are being hit hard, independent grocers were feeling the most financial pressure as a result of thieves, with some even refusing to put all their product on the shelves out of fear it will be stolen.

Mr Brown said supermarkets should use high quality cameras to deter thieves and install security gates at the front of stores and label food packets with security tags.

It’s not just meat that is being stolen either, dairy products and even toilet paper are being sold on the street for quick cash.

A Current Affair exposed the illegal street dealings after residents in Richmond became fed up with the supermarket scam.

Dozens of trolleys are abandoned on streets and one father said there were times he had found syringes.

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