A supermarket has been forced to put security tags on £2 chocolate bars after they became a top target for thieves.

Tesco has begun tagging its large Dairy Milk bars at its Express store in Polegate because so many are being stolen.

One member of staff described “hourly” thefts from the sweet aisle and even a “ransacking” of confectionery.

A spokesman for the Polegate store said: “The tags are stickers, they are not very noticeable.

“We put them on the chocolate bars because they were going missing.

“It depends on your area what kind of things that are taken. For stores close to schools it is likely to be school kids coming in and taking chocolate bars.”

Yesterday shopping experts said the tagging of low price items was likely to become more common as stores defended themselves against thieves.

The metal strips are usually used for high value products such as alcohol, razors and perfumes.

If they are not deactivated at the till they set off the store alarms at the door, alerting security to the crime.

One shopper, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I was a bit shocked when I saw them. It seems such a small thing but I guess if they were being stolen it’s fair enough. All these little things count.”

Tesco became the first supermarket in the country to start security tagging Cathedral City cheese during the recession in 2009.

A Tesco spokesman said it was at the “discretion” of individual managers which items were tagged.