Pump in use GettyImages-524036576

BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, has issued a security alert to forecourt operators about a significant increase in motorists driving off without making payment for fuel, and is calling on them to be extra vigilant.

BOSS has recorded a 38% increase in drive-off incidents during the third lockdown period (January to April 2021). The average value of each drive-off 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, ideally using our Payment Watch service.

“The escalation in drive-off incidents is concerning and in complete contrast to the 27% decline in the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index during the final quarter of 2020.”

He said common warning signals when a vehicle is parked at a pump and a crime might be about to

occur include:

  • driver still at the wheel and passenger filling up;
  • open doors or open boot;
  • number plates hidden or appear altered;
  • lights of the vehicle still switched on;
  • vehicle parked facing away from the kiosk towards an exit;
  • customer trying to hide behind their own or another vehicle when filling up.

Forecourt crime reduction guides that help 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