FT Kevin Eastwood

BOSS executive director Kevin Eastwood

Incidents of forecourt crime increased by 41% during the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest Forecourt Crime Index from BOSS – the British Oil Security Syndicate.

The period covered the three months following the easing of the spring lockdown restrictions and saw the BOSS Index increase to 145, compared with a revised figure of 102 in the second quarter.

The BOSS Forecourt Crime Index is based on no means of payment (NMoP) incident reports that are made to BOSS Payment Watch, the loss recovery service.

As the economy recovered during Q3 drivers returned to the roads and the total number of forecourt crime incidents increased by 41%, after incidents halved during Q2. However, the Q3 Index in 2020 is still 15% lower than at the same period in 2019.

The average number of incidents per site rose by 42% to 10.3 (7.3 in Q2 2020), while the average litres of fuel taken per incident eased 0.4%, slightly down on the previous quarter.

However, as the price of fuel increased the average cost per incident in Q3 increased by 3.9% to £55.21).

Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: “Forecourt crime rose steeply as soon as the economy began to recover in the summer. Reports are showing that motorists involved in incidents are increasingly claiming to have no means of payment, with fewer reports of driving off from the pump without entering a store.

“During the second lockdown period drive off incidents have again fallen, this time by around one third, while the volume of NMoP show no sign of decreasing. The use of cloned plates, while still very low, has seen an upward trend.

“Again we’d strongly recommend that forecourt staff remain vigilant and on the lookout for suspicious behaviour.”

Forecourt crime reduction guides that help forecourt retailers to reduce incidents and keep forecourts safe places to work and shop are available from BOSS. A free copy of the BOSS Drive-Off Prevention guide can be downloaded from the BOSS website at https://bossuk.org/guidance