Security is being stepped up on the UK’s forecourts after a surge in the number of drive-offs.

BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, has implemented its resilience procedures to ensure that it is able to provide forecourt operators with a full level of service during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes after BOSS recorded an increase of more than 20% in drive-offs during the weekend of 21/22 March.

Kevin Eastwood, executive director at BOSS, said: “Fuel outlets are a critical part of the national infrastructure so the health and safety of customers and staff involved in forecourt operations should remain a top priority.

“We are monitoring the level and type of forecourt crime incidents closely and during the weekend of 21/22 March we have received a 21% increase in reports of drive-off incidents. This indicates that during these testing times forecourt retailers should be more vigilant.

“BOSS has introduced its resilience procedures to ensure that the BOSS Payment Watch scheme continues to operate during this crisis and help fuel retailers to support customers who make a genuine mistake when paying for fuel whilst deterring criminal activity.

“Recent upgrades to the BOSS Payment Watch service allow retailers to report incidents of drive-offs and no means of payment using our online portal. This digital service makes initial incident reporting quick and easy, and in the current climate, safer.

“The BOSS Payment Watch portal will remain open 24 hours a day and allows forecourt retailers to monitor the status of all incidents reported to us, identify and respond to trends and, if necessary, implement new management procedures to control incidents of forecourt crime.

“Forecourt operators are coming to terms with an unprecedented situation as the government stresses that the nation must adhere to social distancing and simple hand washing guidelines in order to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. We must all play our part to keep the country safe and secure at this difficult time.”