The recent arrest of a fuel thief highlighted the value of the partnership between Strathclyde Police and the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS).

Staff at a BP service station in Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, spotted the driver of a Vauxhall Vectra at one of the pumps that had previously been subject to ‘drive offs’. The operator noted the car’s registration number, which appeared to have been altered, before the driver drove off having failed to pay for £56 worth of petrol.

The police were quickly contacted and a nearby crew stopped the car. They discovered that the rear plate had been altered by use of black tape and found a hat and jacket matching the clothes worn by the driver at the garage. A copy of the CCTV from the garage clearly showed the same man, who was arrested and kept in custody for court as a result.

PC Des Clark, community safety officer at Milngavie Police Office in Glasgow, said: “Some may think that stealing fuel does not hurt anyone, that it is a victimless crime, but this is not the case. It impacts on consumers, retailers and the police and costs millions of pounds to the industry.

“The Forecourt Watch scheme is an excellent example of partnership working and we will continue to work closely with BOSS and fuel retailers to reduce incidents of fuel theft, increase detections and ensure the safety of staff and customers.”

Jim Anderson, BOSS regional co-ordinator, added: “BOSS Forecourt Watch schemes are partnership arrangements with local police involvement that have helped to reduce the number of incidents of fuel theft and overall crime. By establishing efficient and productive local monitoring and reporting networks, crime at participating service stations is reduced while police are more easily able to identify and apprehend suspects.”