Skip advert
Advertisement

Surge in drive-off petrol thefts forcing garages to close

Industry figures reveal number of motorists driving off without paying for fuel rose by over a fifth in the last financial quarter

petrol pump Citroen C4 HDi

 A surge in the number of motorists stealing petrol and diesel from UK forecourts is forcing petrol stations to close, according to industry leaders.

Figures from the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) reveal the average amount lost by garages stood at £346 in the second quarter of 2018, but rose by 21.4 per cent to £420 per site in the third quarter of the year.

Advertisement - Article continues below

• New petrol pump labels to hit forecourts

BOSS says petrol thefts – or ‘drive-offs’ – are responsible for two-thirds of all forecourt crime, with the remainder coming from incidents where motorists don’t have the means to pay for fuel after filling up, and do not return to make good on their debt.

Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS, said “escalating fuel prices are clearly tempting more motorists to evade payment”, and urged garage staff to remain “vigilant” against drive-offs.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), told The Times that the scale of fuel theft was one of the major drivers of forecourts closing. He accused police of “victim blaming” petrol retailers, with police saying garages “are bringing the problem upon ourselves by not forcing customers to pay at the pumps.” 

Chief Constable Simone Cole from the National Police Chief Council previously claimed petrol stations could “design out” drive-offs “in 30 seconds by making people pay up front, which is what they do in other countries.”

Cole’s comments were quickly rebuffed by the PRA, though, which highlighted retrofitting garages with pre-payment machines would cost £20,000 per forecourt, a cost smaller garages would find difficult to absorb. The PRA also stated garages make slim margins on petrol and diesel sales, so are reliant on shop purchases for their profits, something that would dry up or diminish if per-payment devices were installed on pumps.

Have you ever witnessed drivers not paying for fuel? Let us know in the comments below...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New EU worn tyre rules could save 400m tyres and £5.9 billion a year
Skoda Octavia heavy braking on a wet road surface
News

New EU worn tyre rules could save 400m tyres and £5.9 billion a year

Tyres at the 1.6mm legal minimum tread depth must still meet same performance standards as new tyres, says the EU
18 Jul 2024
New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring
Kia Sportage facelift spyshot 1
News

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring

Kia’s big-selling mid-size SUV is about to get a makeover for 2025
19 Jul 2024
New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction
Volkswagen Golf facelift 2024 UK - front
Road tests

New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction

The Volkswagen Golf has been updated to keep it competitive against the likes of the Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic
19 Jul 2024