The government is sponsoring a £5.5m Safeway and Unilever joint trial of radio frequency identification tagging as an anti-crime initiative. Safeway supply and logistics director Mark Aylwin said: "Unilever responded to an advert from the Home Office in the paper and we became involved through them. "The plan is we will take over funding for the project if chipping proves successful in reducing stock loss in trials." RFID tags costing 60p each are being put on cases of six-packs of two lines of Lynx deodorant, an item with an rsp of £1.60, prone to theft by teenagers in Safeway stores. Cases are being monitored from manufacturer Lever Faberge's factory in Leeds to Safeway's distribution centre in Northampton, and from depot to trial stores in Milton Keynes, Dewsbury and Northampton. Reading points have been installed at depot and fixed scanners in store, and both Safeway and Unilever will be able to check where items are in the supply chain on a website from August. The trial is due to complete in September, when results will be assessed by all involved parties. Aylwin said: "Tagging is not just about stock loss, it is also about availability and replenishment. The technology would be very useful for our deep cut promotional programme where we are dealing with massive volumes. "We could maybe use the data to decide to cut out our distribution centres and deliver from manufacturer to store." {{NEWS }}