Incidents of forecourt crime reported to the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) increased by 32% during the first quarter of 2021, according to its latest Forecourt Crime Index.
The first quarter (Q1) covered the three months to March 31, 2021 and saw the BOSS Index increase to 141 (107: Q4 2020 - revised). 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.
The average number of incidents per site increased 31% to 10.0 (7.6: Q4 2020), however, the average litres of fuel taken per incident declined 3.5% to 51.0 (52.9: Q4 2020). The average price of fuel increased by 4% during Q1 to 121.8 pence per litre (ppl) (116.8 ppl: Q4 2020), but the average value of each NMoP incident only rose 0.5% to £62.16 per incident (£61.77: Q3 2020).
During Q1 2021 there was a 38% increase in the number drive-off incidents with each incident averaging 31.4 litres. The average value of each drive-off incident was £38.19.
Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: “The latest results reinforce the see-saw nature of fuel crime, but significantly for the first time during a lockdown period we have seen fuel crime increase. What’s clear is a radical shift in both the size and the type of fuel crime taking place. Gone are the days when drive-off incidents dominated fuel crime on the forecourt. Losses from No Means of Payment incidents are greater than the cost of drive-off incidents.
“As fuel sales make a recovery to pre-pandemic levels and the economy recovers, car use is continuing to grow. Forecourt operators would do well to take note of the changing nature of crime and return to basics to tackle a problem that could balloon over the summer months as staycations bring more travelers onto our roads.
“Forecourts should focus their efforts on managing motorists claiming to have no means to pay for fuel in order to reduce potential losses.”
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.