The Home Office, fuel retailers and police have come together to tackle the £36m annual cost of fuel theft on the UK’s petrol forecourts.
The impact that fuel theft is having on the sector has sparked industry groups, including the PRA, Association of Convenience Store (ACS) and the Downstream Fuel Association (DFA) into action to develop new guidance to support fuel retailers in training their staff to prevent drive-offs and report incidents to the police using a new standard reporting form.
Figures from the ACS suggest fuel theft costs £36m a year, with each store seeing an average of three to four incidents each week. The new guidance addresses what fuel retailers can look out for to prevent drive-offs, and how to deal with no means of payment offences, where individuals claim not to have the means available to them to pay for fuel.
Welcoming the new guidance, the minister for vulnerability, safeguarding and countering extremism, Sarah Newton MP, said: “Fuel theft harms businesses, consumers and communities which is why the Home Office is working closely with industry partners and local fuel retailers to understand the nature of this crime, and its cost for retailers. This joint approach has led to this important guidance which will help fuel retailers prevent thefts in future.
“With the help of the police, we are improving the law enforcement response to support fuel retailers, clamp down on thieves and bring offenders to justice.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Fuel retailers make every effort to prevent fuel theft from their sites by investing in CCTV, automatic number plate recognition and staff training. We hope the guidance we have produced will support retailers to prevent fuel theft and help them build closer relationships with the police to catch offenders and deter others from trying.”
PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “As key members of the Home Office Forecourt Crime Senior Steering Group we have been encouraged to see the practical and realistic efforts by Government, industry and the police to find new ways of combating the rise in forecourt crime.”
DFA chief executive Teresa Sayers said: “The Downstream Fuel Association is pleased to be a contributor to the Home Office initiative bringing together fuel retailers, the police, and other stakeholders to further combat the issue of theft on petrol forecourts. DFA members, including four major supermarkets, welcome the opportunity to work closely with the all parties to clamp down on these drive-off and non-payment offences.”
The guidance was developed as part of the Home Office Forecourt Crime Steering Group, which brings together representatives from business and industry, policing and law enforcement and the voluntary sector.
The Preventing Fuel Theft Guide and incident report form can be found at https://www.acs.org.uk/fuel-theft/
Fuel retailers can also request hard copies of the guidance by emailing Julie Byers, ACS public affairs executive at Julie.Byers@acs.org.uk.