Detectives investigating a fuel card cloning scam have released images of two men they believe may have filled up with £30,000 of stolen petrol and diesel from forecourts across Birmingham.
A total of 46 cards are suspected of being cloned at a Halesowen petrol station by a rogue cashier and passed on to thieves who topped up their tanks at the expense of companies signed up to the scheme.
The Allstar Fuel Cards were cloned between November 2013 and May 2014 before being used repeatedly at regional garages, primarily in Washwood Heath and Erdington.
Officers from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit have already arrested and charged a cashier suspected of duplicating the cards - and they’ve now issued images of two men caught on CCTV using them to buy fuel. Click here to view the CCTV of the suspects.
Detective constable Launa Rowley said: “We believe the men have used around 100 different vehicles. The scam was identified after some fuel card customers reported strange transactions on their accounts - but whenever one of the cards became ’hot’ the fraudsters moved into the next cloned card in order to keep the con going.
“That’s why they were able to rack up such a large quantity of stolen fuel over a period of many months.
“We’ve obtained very clear CCTV images of the two men we’d like to speak to about this fraud and I’d urge anyone who believes they recognise them to contact me."
One suspect, seen walking to a car on the forecourt at the BP station in St Andrews Lane, Bordesley, is described as an Asian male in his late 20s or early 30s, stocky build, with short dark hair and a beard. He has been shown on camera wearing several distinctive jumpers.
The other man is white, around the same age, slim build, with short dark-brown hair with a side parting. He is often seen wearing a dark blue or grey parka-style coat with a fur hood and toggle fastenings on the front, or a fawn and brown hooded top with shoulder patches.
A 26-year-old man from Cradley Heath has been charged with multiple counts of making articles to be used in fraud and has been bailed to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on February 27.
Two other men, aged 26 and 25, were also arrested but released without charge.
Anyone who believes they recognise the men is asked to call the Economic Crime Unit at West Midlands Police on the 101 number, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.