The continuing rise in crime being suffered by the UK’s service station network and the differing response by local police forces was the subject of a strongly worded letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May, sent this week by RMI chairman Brian Madderson.

In it he states that drive-offs, no means of payment and bulk theft of fuel are all increasing across the UK as a result of the continuing rise in fuel prices, and the economic hardship being suffered by many.

“Add to these, the forecourt-related issues of shop lifting, shop burglaries and theft from external cash machines, and petrol filling stations are now bearing the brunt of a rapidly growing pandemic crime wave,” he wrote. He also referred to the incident involving an explosive device to steal cash from a ‘through-the-wall’ machine on a Texaco-branded site in Hampshire last Sunday evening as illustrating the determination and recklessness of a modern criminal.

“Our members contact their local police to report such incidents but the response differs widely between respective police forces,” said Madderson. “ In many instances, joint intelligence and action can be initiated to apprehend the perpetrator quite quickly. In others the force fails to investigate.

The letter went on to address the alarming incident concerning PRA member, Steve Jones, who has received a letter from lawyers representing a Woman Police Officer claiming he is personally responsible for injuries she alleges to have suffered during a night call to his site.

Madderson continued: “The PRA believe such a case will have serious implications for all our members across the UK.

“Forecourt owners may feel deterred from making legitimate calls for police assistance during the current tsunami wave of crime at their businesses,” said Madderson.” Does it risk alienating our retailers from the public service forces that are paid and trained to protect their businesses and their staff?”