A motorist has been arrested after a West Midlands Police officer was knocked down on a petrol station forecourt as he tried to stop a suspected fuel thief.

Officers were called to the BP garage in Stratford Road, Shirley, at around 1am on Friday August 12 by staff reporting a driver they believed was trying to fill up for free.

The man jumped behind the wheel and tried speeding away as one of the officers reached inside the driver’s door in a bid to grab the keys.

The officer was flung across the forecourt by the car – believed to be running on false plates – and later needed hospital treatment for cuts and bruising.

A response officer colleague pursued the driver along Stratford Road and into Bills Lane and a 44-year-old man from Solihull was arrested following a brief foot chase.

Solihull Police chief inspector Jack Hadley, said: “As a force we investigate around 20 fuel thefts each day and work closely with petrol station managers and the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) to tackle the problem.

“People need to be clear that driving off without paying for fuel is theft and the consequences are very serious.

“On this occasion garage staff called us believing this man was a serial fuel thief and that he was trying to make off without paying. We had night shift patrol officers there very quickly and were able to intercept the motorist while he was still on the forecourt.

“Thankfully the officer sustained only minor injuries but clearly it could have been much worse.”