Theft of fuel from Britain’s forecourts cost retailers an estimated £31.4m during 2014 according to the latest Forecourt Crime Statistics Survey from BOSS (British Oil Security Syndicate), which was revealed at the Forecourt Show at the NEC last month.

Since the last BOSS survey for 2012, losses attributable to drive-offs and ’no means of payment’ (NMOP) combined have risen to £31.4m, compared with £24.6m in 2012, an increase of 28%. Although the two surveys are not directly comparable as they were based on different samples of service stations, the upward trend is clear. There has been an increase of 6.8% in drive-off losses and NMOP losses have more than doubled.

In 2014 estimated drive-off losses were £21.7m (£20.4m in 2012), while the losses from customers claiming to have no means of payment were £9.7m (£4.2m in 2012).

The combined drive-off and NMOP loss for the average UK service station in 2014 was £3,600 (£2,800 in 2012).

Kevin Eastwood, executive director of BOSS, said: "Losses from forecourt crime is at an unacceptable level and during the past 12 months BOSS has taken steps to improve the recording and reporting of incidents.

"We understand the pressure this type of crime places on police resources but by developing new and improved ways of working between police and retailers we will reduce losses and increase recovery of debts.

"BOSS has developed a new initiative to tackle drive-off offenders by proactively pursuing registered keepers of vehicles involved in drive-offs. The new approach is currently undergoing trials and is intended to increase the recovery of losses and ensure that persistent offenders are brought before the courts."