Thieves who fill up and drive off from service stations using stolen number plates are the target of a new scheme launched by police and partners in Slough, Berkshire.

Between January and August this year, a total of 152 vehicles had their number plates stolen, and 55% (84) of these plates were then used to commit bilkings at fuel stations.

Thames Valley Police in Slough has joined forces with the management of local service stations as well as the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS).

Publicity material will be displayed at various service stations over the coming weeks and crime prevention tips are also being given to victims of number-plate theft.

Tamper-proof screws have also been given to residents free of charge in areas where a number of theft of number plate offences have occurred as part of the scheme. These include Spackmans Way, Brammas Close, Ladbrooke Road, and Ragstone Road in Chalvey; and Trent Road, Torridge Road, Tweed Road, Humber Way, Reddington Drive, Mina Avenue, and Trelawney Avenue in Langley and Colnbrook.

Detective Inspector Andy Shearwood from Slough CID said: “By working in partnership with BOSS and local service stations, we hope to deter and reduce increases in bilking offences over the coming months. We hope that the public will get behind this campaign and report their suspicions via our 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre. Alternatively, local people can pass any information via Crimestoppers anonymously and tell us who is committing these thefts.”