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THEY feel they have been pushed into a corner and forced to shop around for an original idea.

Bosses at a Lothians supermarket have become so fed up at shopping trolleys disappearing that they have hired specialists to track them down.

Thieves at the Straiton branch of Asda have been snatching trolleys from the store’s car park before abandoning them around Loanhead.

In just one sweep, the retrieval experts, who tour the town three times a week, rounded up 38 of the £55 trolleys.

Customers are also being asked to report abandoned trolleys.

Store manager Mat Danes said initial efforts to tackle the problem had not been “efficient”. He said: “From last week, we have begun to use a company to collect trolleys. They will carry out a full sweep of the area on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“They will leave cards at residents’ addresses where trolleys are collected, and there will also be a log book at the customer services desk to note where there is an issue.”

It is understood that there are no security deterrents – such as sensors triggering automatic wheel locks – at the Straiton branch.

Mr Danes ruled out introducing a £1 charge for trolleys, as implemented at some other supermarkets.

He said: “Asda is generally against it. In the first place, you would be required to put a lock on the trolleys and it annoys customers.

“They would rather pay the company to go and collect them.”

Bruce Hogg, vice-chair of Loanhead Community Council, said he was “staggered” by the news. He said: “They are too bloody idle to take their trolley back. It is not the shop’s fault.”

Local councillor Les Thacker said he was “lost for words” by the volume of missing trolleys. He added: “I can’t think why so many are being taken. It just shouldn’t happen.”

An Asda spokeswoman said: “It’s the first time I have heard of an external company being brought in to collect the trolleys.

“We have a range of initiatives to make sure trolleys stay where they are needed, or can be retrieved quickly.

“But our preferred option is that our customers leave them at the store when they have finished their shopping.”