Nisa-Today's is employing clever chips to stop thieves stealing alcohol and cigarettes before they reach its customers.

At its ambient warehouse in Scunthorpe it has installed an RFID system that alerts staff if a loaded trailer has been tampered with. Nisa said theft of high-value but small items such as cigarettes or alcohol had been a significant problem at busy distribution centres. The new system, which cost £175,000, had reduced this considerably.

The system incorporates reusable electronic seals that are placed on each trailer and generate a four-digit number every time they are closed. Nisa is then able to check later that this number has remained unchanged while in the yard or out on the road.

With the system, loss and theft of stock were down to a minimum, said Jeremy Blakey, director of Re-Vision Logistics, which runs the system for Nisa in partnership with Bibby Distribution.

Drivers had welcomed the system, which also identifies which lorry driver is delivering what goods. "We thought drivers would be worried suspicion was falling on them," he added. "But in fact this clears them if everything matches from when they leave the gate to arriving at the delivery point."