Service stations in Torfaen will get greater support from Gwent Police following the launch of Forecourt Watch in the area.

Police officers in Torfaen have joined forces with the management of local service stations as well as the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) to increase awareness, prevention and the reporting and recording of drive offs.

Between 1 June and 8 September 2011, there were 24 instances of drivers filling up their vehicles with fuel and then driving off without paying in Torfaen. Eleven of these crimes (45%) were committed using stolen registration plates.

Each service station will use the OWL (Online Watch link) system to communicate information directly with police in Torfaen and with each other.

Signs are being put up in local forecourts to remind potential fuel thieves that driving off without paying for fuel is a crime and work is underway to catch any offenders.

Service station staff are also being given tips on the prevention of this type of crime.

PCSO Hannah Gillum, of Pontypool Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We’re very pleased with the response we have received from all nine fuel stations in Torfaen. By working in partnership with BOSS and local service stations, we hope to deter and reduce the number of instances of theft of fuel from service stations over the coming months.

“We would like the public to get behind this campaign and report their suspicions by calling 101. Alternatively, local people can pass any information anonymously via Crimestoppers and tell us who is committing these thefts.”

BOSS regional co-ordinator Peter Fender added: “We’re pleased to be launching this new scheme with Gwent Police. By building successful partnerships with local police, fuel 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 service 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.”