East Anglian family poultry business Cavick House Farm has installed an egg vending machine to tackle thieves.
Run by David and Julie Barber, the Wymondham-based farm in Norfolk has 16,000 hens with eggs sold to both supermarkets, such as Marks and Spencer, and the public.
But the couple found that they were losing around £150 a week in stolen eggs, with people abusing their honesty box system.
Mrs Barber said they had run an honesty box for 7 years but the thefts had mounted in the past 24 months with up to 40% of the produce not being paid for.
“We were seriously thinking about stopping the sales altogether but we decided to keep selling to our loyal customers.”
Packs of eggs are now kept in individual vending machine boxes which are only unlocked after payment.
Gary Ford, NFU poultry adviser, said thefts of eggs were not uncommon. Mr Ford tweeted: “Speaking to one producer who sells using an “honesty box” – he estimates that at times up to 50% of eggs are not paid for.”