Kevin Eastwood

BOSS executive director Kevin Eastwood

There was a 20.5% increase in the volume of forecourt crime reported to BOSS (British Oil Security Syndicate) by forecourt operators during the second quarter of 2021, driven by a near 38% increase in drive-off incidents.

The second quarter (Q2) experienced more vehicle movements as the country was released from lockdown in April.

During the three months to 30 June 2021 the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index increased to 170 (141: Q1 2021) and is now at the same level as Q4 2019.

The BOSS Forecourt Crime Index has been revised to combine the impact of no means of payment (NMoP) and drive-off incident reports that are made to BOSS Payment Watch, the loss recovery service.

The large increase in the index was driven by drive-offs, with the number of incidents rising 37.6% during Q2. NMoP incidents increased by only 12.9% during the same period.

The average number of litres taken per drive-off fell to 30.5 litres in Q2 (31.4: Q1 2021) but the rising price of fuel meant the average value of each drive-off incident rose to £39.16 (£38.19: Q1 2021).

The average number of incidents per site increased to 17 (14.0: Q1 2021), however, the average litres of fuel taken per incident increased 13.6% to 46.7 (41.1: Q1 2021).

Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: “The BOSS Index has returned to 2019 levels but the jump during 2021 reflects the growth in traffic as economic activity recovers from the pandemic.

“The big increase in the number of drive-off incidents emphasises that forecourt retailers should be watchful at all times, but especially when forecourts are congested with customers.

“No means of payment remains the biggest challenge facing forecourt operators and accounts for more than two thirds of all forecourt fuel crime by value and costs the average forecourt outlet more than £10,000 every year.”

BOSS estimates that forecourt fuel crime costs retailers more than £88m annually. Two thirds of forecourt fuel crime comes from no means of payment incidents (£66m pa) with the remainder reported as drive-oOff incidents (£22m pa).

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