Rising crime cost the forecourt industry £28.9 million in 2006, according to the latest figures from the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS). The 2006 Forecourt Crime Statistics report found this was an increase on the previous year’s £26.3 million. Meanwhile, £2.2 million of this latest rise in costs related to attacks on Cash in Transit (CIT) and ATM cash

machines, which BOSS said were not fully captured in the 2005 report.

The research found that drive-offs represented 82% of industry financial losses for 2006 and cost £247,000 per 100 sites surveyed - up a worrying 7.4% on 2005.

The rate of incidents of physical violence and robbery rose slightly to 15.5 per 100 sites, while crime-related injures fell to 1.2 per 100. Burglaries were at 11.9 incidents per 100 sites, compared to 8.7 the previous year. There were also more injuries from weapons, up from 6.1 to 6.9 incidents per 100 sites. And while the reporting of guns stayed the same at 2.4, retailers said they saw slightly more incidents involving knives - up from 1.6 to 1.7 per 100 sites, and reports of other weapons rose from 2.2 to 3 per 100.

Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: "Crime on forecourts remains at unacceptable levels. Pressure on petrol prices has continued to make petrol stations a target for theft, but by working with the police and regional agencies, considerable efforts are being made to reduce the incidence of crime. However, these figures show that more effective strategies are required if the level of losses is to be contained.

"Key in the fight against petrol service station crime are the Forecourt Watch schemes, local campaigns which are established to protect and safeguard the well-being of customers and staff. Forecourt Watch initiatives operate in over 70 areas across the UK. Under them, BOSS works in partnership with local agencies and local police forces to reduce crime and the fear of crime."