Three-quarters of Brits are what is described as ‘micro-criminals’ - committing tiny crimes in shops and online to get a better deal.
Research by YouGov found that 74 per cent of UK citizens had perpetrated at least one very minor crime.
Most common was paying someone cash-in-hand while knowing that no tax would be declared, with 43 per cent of those surveyed confessing to this.
Among the ‘lesser’ offences confessed to included refilling a drink without paying extra (16 per cent) and eating supermarkets’ loose fruit or pic’n’mix without paying (12 per cent).
Illegal activities committed within the safety of the perpetrator’s own home included illegal streaming or downloading, with a quarter of people saying they did this. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was younger people who are more likely to illegally stream from the web, involving 57 per cent of 18-24 year olds compared to just 8 per cent of those over the age of 65.
Dodges while out and about included saying a food order was take-away when it was eat-in (22 per cent), taking a plastic bag at a supermarket to avoid the 5 pence charge (17 per cent). Although only 2 per cent of thieves steal a bag per week, YouGov still calculate the loss to supermarkets (or charities) to be £4.2m per year. And 24 per cent of us avoided paying a fare on public transport.
Lying about one’s own age or situation (19 per cent) or the age of a child (16 per cent) were also common dodges to save a little bit extra.
Men are more likely to commit micro-crimes than women (77 per cent vs 71 per cent), and 78 per cent of the middle classes, as opposed to 69 of working class people, admitted to the criminal acts listed, particularly cash-in-hand payments.
The 11 most common micro-crimes:
• Paid someone cash-in-hand so that it costs less, knowing they won’t pay tax: 43%
• Illegally streamed TV shows, movies or music: 28%
• Illegally downloaded TV shows, movies or music: 25%
• Avoided paying for a fare on public transport: 24%
• Told someone a food order was take away rather than eat-in because it costs less: 22%
• Lied about your own age/situation to get a cheaper deal on something: 19%
• Taken a plastic bag at a supermarket without paying for it: 17%
• Lied about your child’s age to get a cheaper deal on something: 16%
• Refilled your drink without paying extra: 16%
• Eaten loose fruit/pic n’ mix at a store without paying for it: 12%
• Put a product through a self-service till for less than it should actually cost: 9%