Cops facing a new sticky crime wave.
Lawyers said the sticky substance was big business for crooks who were swiping up to pounds 800-worth of the stuff to send back to Romania, where it has effectively become a form of currency.
Dean Lampard, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The theft of large quantities of chewing gum is becoming big business."
Two Romanian men were jailed last week for stealing more than pounds 1,000 of chewing gum from an Asda store in Taunton and a shop in Norfolk.
And PC David Walton, of West Mercia Police said it was a growing problem in the Midlands and North Yorkshire.
He said: "We are not talking about a couple of packs; we are talking about five, six, seven maybe eight hundred pounds' worth in one go.
"In Romania, they will give you sticks of chewing gum as opposed to change."