Filling up with fuel GettyImages-176874169

The PRA has written to the new Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp, concerning the alarming increase in forecourt drive-offs which sees motorists fill up their cars and drive off without paying.

In the letter, Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA, informed the Minister that: “Reported incidents of this type cost the industry in excess of £40m and the PRA has worked with the Home Office and the Police to improve the process to alleviate it. However, many of our members are now reporting a marked increase in this type of crime.”

With the cost-of-living crisis contributing to this increase in forecourt crime, Balmer went on to express his alarm at the lacklustre response of local police forces, with some openly stating that they will not pursue drive-offs under a certain value, no doubt encouraging rather than deterring would-be criminals. 

Highlighting the attitude of local police to forecourt crime, Balmer pointed to a recent case in which a criminal had filmed himself laughing while stealing petrol, clearly demonstrating his intent

“Alarmingly, even after this footage was shared with the police, it took multiple representations from the owner of the forecourt and the PRA over three months before charges were pressed.

”Our members wish to retain good relationships with their local police force and pay their business rates for their support. However, it is very frustrating in this harsh economic climate with crime on the increase, that in some circumstances this support is not forthcoming”.

“The PRA will continue pushing for a clamp-down on forecourt crime on behalf of our members.”