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The average cost of no means of pay incidents increased to £69.49 in Q4 of 2023

The latest Forecourt Crime Index from BOSS (British Oil Security Syndicate), has fallen for the first time since 2021 – but the average litres drawn in each incident increased, leading to the cost per incident rising.

During Q4 2023 incidents of unpaid fuel decreased by 5.9% (Q3 2023: + 1.3 %) easing the Forecourt Crime Index in Q4 2023 to 244 (259: Q3 2023), returning the Index to the same level at Q3 2022.

Incidents of No Means of Payment (NMoP) were 10% lower than in the previous quarter, continuing the decline of recent months, and Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay (DOFP) saw a slight decline of 0.2%. During Q4 the average number of unpaid fuel incidents per site fell to 29.1 per site (30.9: Q3 2023) with NMoP incidents accounting for 59% of all Payment Watch reports.

However, the average cost of NMoP incidents increased to £69.49 (£64.79: Q3 2023), while the average cost of a DOFP incident increased to £52.51 per incident (£50.98: Q3 2023). Increases in the average cost of incidents occurred at a time when the cost of fuel began to fall to an average of 149.6 ppl for unleaded fuel (153 ppl: Q3 2023). Fuel prices are now at pre-Ukraine invasion levels.

The average litres drawn in an NMoP incident increased to 43.24 in Q4 (42.02 litres: Q3 2023). Litres of fuel taken in DOFP incidents eased to an average of 33.43 litres per incident (33.54 litres: Q3 2023).

Bruce Nichol, operations director at BOSS, said: “The latest Forecourt Crime Index shows a new trend unfolding. While the volume of unpaid fuel incidents declined in the final quarter of 2023, a subtle change lurks beneath the surface – the average litres drawn in these incidents has increased.

“This increase has pushed the cost per NMoP incident upwards, signalling a nuanced challenge for some forecourt operators. The need for greater vigilance becomes clear and demands heightened awareness.

“As we navigate this evolving terrain, staying one step ahead is not just a choice but a necessity for those who seek resilience, to ensure that they have robust procedures, such as Payment Watch, in place to manage the recovery of money-owed effectively.”