Forecourt crime rose by 1.9% last year, according to the 2005 Forecourt Crime Statistics compiled by BOSS - the British Oil Security Syndicate campaigning to reduce crime on Britain’s forecourts.

The estimated total losses suffered by the forecourt industry in the UK last year were £26.2m (compared to £25.7m in 2004). At the same time fuel prices rose 9.3% from 81.6ppl to 89.1ppl.

Driving off without payment represented two thirds of industry losses, and during 2005, financial losses for drive-offs rose to £169,000 per 100 sites - in 2004 it was £154,000.

The loss per incident rose 8% from £24.40 to £26.25 in 2005 - slightly less than the rise in average fuel prices.

Incidents of physical violence and robbery showed its third consecutive quarterly fall with the annual combined rate also down at 14.3 incidents per 100 sites (16.9 in 2004). The burglary incident rate improved significantly at 8.5 incidents per 100 sites (11.7 in 2004). The rate for weapon-related incidents fell to 6.1 per 100 (7 in 2004); while the reporting of guns was slightly up at 2.3 per 100 sites (2.1 in 2004). The rate of incidents involving knives was down at 1.6 (2.4 in 2004).

Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS, said: "Crime on forecourts is still 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."