Forecourt operators warned as fuel theft cases rise

Forecourt operators have been warned to be extra vigilant following a significant increase in the number of motorists driving off without paying for their fuel.

May 18, 2021
By Tony Thompson

BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, recorded a 38 per cent increase in drive-off incidents during the third lockdown period (January to April 2021).

The average value of each incident was £38.75, which is lower than the £61.77 average value of incidents where motorists claim to have no means of payment.

Bruce Nichol, operations director at BOSS, said: “We’re recommending that forecourt retailers remain vigilant and consider tightening procedures when authorising pumps for fuel to be drawn.

“When a drive-off incident takes place, forecourt retailers should collect incident information from CCTV and report vehicle details as soon as possible.

“The escalation is concerning and in complete contrast to the 27 per cent decline in the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index during the final quarter of 2020.”

BOSS, which has issued a ‘security alert’ to forecourt operators, says although fuel theft incidents are regularly reported to the police, prosecutions are rare.

On Sunday (May 16) a group of teenage boys were arrested after officers from Derbyshire Constabulary followed a car that had allegedly been used in a fuel theft in Buxton.

“Staff at a petrol station in Leek Road in the town called us just after 1am to report that a Ford Focus had left the forecourt but the driver had allegedly not paid for the fuel,” said a force spokesperson.

“Patrolling officers from our Roads Policing Unit saw the car being driven along the A6 in Matlock Bath and followed it, deploying a drone and then a stinger to bring the vehicle to a halt.”

Three teenagers, two aged 17 and one aged 16, were arrested on suspicion of theft. The two 17-year-olds were also arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis. They have been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

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