UK thieves tear open chip bags for chance at free $10

Packet of chips and crisps (Getty)
The possibility of some free cash has turned UK citizens to savages (Getty / file)

What would you do for a free $10 note? In the UK, some have resorted to shoplifting, after a promotion was launched by a chip company.

Walkers' promotion has seen 250,000 £5 (NZ$10) notes stuffed inside bags of chips. Other prizes range from £540 to £28,200.

And the possibility of some free cash has turned citizens to savages.

According to The Sun, supermarket staff across the region have been put on high alert after a spate of shoplifters tearing into bags.

A worker at a supermarket in West Yorkshire told the publication times are tough.

"I saw a little old lady trying to open a packet before she spotted me and moved on, all embarrassed."

When the promotion was launched, PepsiCo manager director Thomas Barkholt said they were confident it would be a hit.

"We know that people love that payday feeling as well as promotions with lots of chances to win cash prizes," he said.

The hunt's been compared to the search for the golden ticket in Willy Wonka - except instead of a free tour of a chocolate factory, it's all for £5.