Hundreds stealing fuel from petrol forecourts in Northants

editorial image

Hundreds of people are driving off from county petrol stations without paying for their fuel.

Police say the majority of drivers are law abiding and pay for their petrol or diesel, but there are a minority who deliberately fill up and leave the forecourt without paying.

The number of reported incidents has fallen over the past three years, but police want to bring this number down further.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, 753 drive-offs were reported compared to 988 during the same period in 2010-11 – a fall of 26 per cent.

However, police are still seeing a number of incidents being reported.

Sergeant Paul Valentine says officers will investigate all reports of making off without payment.

He said: “It’s good to see this type of crime is falling but there are still too many incidents being reported.

“Most people are honest and wouldn’t dream of not paying for their fuel – after all, it’s stealing and we will investigate and prosecute offenders as we would with any other crime.

“Occasionally, some people do forget and drive away without paying – if you do this, please make sure you return to the petrol station as soon as possible to pay for your fuel.

“Police and forecourt managers share information and use CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the people committing these crimes – we know who the repeat offenders are and will target them.

“If anyone sees any suspicious activity on petrol forecourts, they should report it to member of staff straightaway.”

Officers are working closely with businesses affected by this type of crime, to gather evidence and catch those committing these offences.

They are also visiting petrol stations where there have been recent incidents, to give advice and discuss prevention tactics.