Fuel thefts from forecourts almost trebled last year, according to figures released by Bedfordshire Police.

A Freedom of Information request by Bedfordshire on Sunday to the police force shows that last year 603 thefts were recorded at petrol stations, compared with 219 in 2013-2014 and 200 in 2012-2013.

A further 105 fuel thefts were reported last year from houses, farms and transport companies, with 113 in 2013-2014 and 120 in 2012-2013.

Bedfordshire Police said: “Theft of fuel may appear to some to be a victimless crime, but it is innocent motorists who could end up footing the bill in the form of price rises over time.

“Businesses can also suffer as a result and we do all in our power to ensure those responsible for fuel thefts are brought to justice.”