Kevin Eastwood

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS

Forecourt operators are being warned to be vigilant because criminals appear to be switching their tactics during the latest lockdown, according to BOSS (British Oil Security Syndicate).

A 31.5% fall in drive-off incidents during the first two weeks of the latest national lockdown has been recorded by BOSS. However, no means of payment incidents only fell by 16.5%.

The data compares reports of forecourt crime incidents during the first two weeks of December 2020 with reports submitted to BOSS during the first two weeks of January 2021.

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, explained: “Fuel sales have declined by around one third during the latest lockdown and the decline in drive-off incidents is in line with this reduction and this continues the trend that has seen the volume of drive-off crime incidents reduce.

“However, incidents of no means of payment, which only fell by 16.5%, indicates that it is becoming the dominant forecourt crime incident type in the UK.

“We would urge forecourt retailers to remain vigilant and, where incidents do occur, that they diligently record details so that those who deliberately evade payment can be followed up and money returned to forecourt retailers.”

BOSS Payment Watch has maintained a 24 hours a day service during the pandemic and enables retailers to report drive-off and no means of payment incidents via an online portal.

Forecourt operators are also able to monitor the status of live incidents and analyse trends.

BOSS will also help fuel retailers’ support customers who make a genuine mistake when paying for fuel.

Forecourt crime reduction guides that help forecourt retailers to reduce incidents and keep forecourts safe places to work and shop are available from BOSS.