Crime on Britain’s forecourts cost fuel retailers more than £22m in 2010, up from £19m in 2009, according to figures revealed in the annual forecourt crime survey carried out by the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS).
The main source of the estimated total loss is £15.5m resulting from drive-offs, with a further £4.5m lost from motorists claiming to have no means of payment (NMoP) who then fail to return to clear their debt.
The combined drive-off and NMoP loss for the average UK service station in 2010 compared with the previous year rose 2.5% in terms of litres but 19% in cash terms due to increased fuel prices.
At a local level, where BOSS has established Forecourt Watch schemes operating successfully, losses have been shown to fall by up to 55%.
On a national level, BOSS has introduced a new NMoP debt recovery scheme, available to any fuel retailer, which helps them to recover financial losses incurred as a result of NMoP incidents.
Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS, said: “The rise in losses shows how essential it is to deter this type of crime. We are pressing ahead to expand the number of our Forecourt Watch schemes and increase participation in our pioneering NMoP debt recovery scheme, now available across the UK for BOSS members and associates – many participating service stations are reporting in excess of 80% of monies recovered.
“We have other initiatives under development with police that will benefit our members, police and other partners, to combat criminal activity at Britain’s service stations.”
The survey results also showed that robbery losses including attacks on contractors collecting cash or re-stocking cash machines were up slightly at £1.43m while burglary losses fell slightly to £720,000. Reports of crime-related injuries to staff were at their lowest level since the survey was started.