Strathclyde Police has broadened its association with the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) and independent retailers to introduce Forecourt Watch in Clydesdale.

The Clydesdale scheme, being rolled out at 11 key sites in the district, is the latest addition to some 70 schemes already operating throughout the UK.

BOSS estimates that overall forecourt crime throughout Britain, excluding credit card fraud, cost the oil retailing industry more than £19m last year. Forecourt Watch creates a closer link between police, BOSS and retail staff to increase awareness, prevention and the reporting and recording of incidents.

Commenting on the introduction of the scheme, which was officially launched at the BP service station in Stewart Street, Carluke on December 23, chief inspector Colin Murphy of Lanark Police Office said: “Instances of non payment at fuel stations continue to be problematic within South Lanarkshire. A key aspect in the fight against fuel station crime is the Forecourt Watch initiative, which is designed to protect and safeguard the wellbeing of staff and customers alike. Forecourt Watch members are able to utilise this initiative to its fullest by remaining vigilant and sharing information with other fuel stations so as to drive down these crimes.”

Jim Anderson, BOSS regional co-ordinator, added: “We’re pleased to be extending our partnership with Strathclyde Police, which has already achieved some notable successes in apprehending persistent offenders. Drive-off incidents cost the UK oil industry approximately £14m last year. By building successful partnerships with local police, petrol retailers and other agencies through initiatives such as the BOSS Forecourt Watch schemes, we are able to deter and prevent crime on service station forecourts.

“Our aim is to maintain fuel stations as a safe environment for customers and staff, targeting those people who drive off without paying for their fuel and use service stations as a route to commit more serious crimes.”

Research shows that offences of driving off without paying for fuel are often linked to offenders or vehicles involved in other types of crime and to disqualified drivers, those without insurance, tax or MOT, or vehicles with false number plates.

BOSS Forecourt Watch documentation for the recording and notifying of drive-off incidents will be provided to staff at all forecourts taking part in the scheme. This enables fuel service stations to work in conjunction with police and BOSS to help bring offenders to justice.

High visibility stickers and posters on the forecourt itself will raise awareness among customers and potential thieves that Forecourt Watch is in operation and that making off without payment is a criminal offence.

Service stations registered with the scheme will also benefit from sharing information with police and each other on suspects, vehicles and known offenders – to maximise disruption and detection of offences.