Police have arrested a pair of suspected fuel thieves believed to be behind at least 19 filling station drive-offs across Greater Manchester in the last two weeks, with an estimated value of around £2,000.

The men, aged in their 20s, were held after a Mazda Premacy people carrier was stopped following a brief chase in Bolton on Wednesday October 7.

Officers from GMP’s ‘intercept’ traffic squad spotted the car on Chorley Road in Bolton at around noon.

Two men in the car were arrested on suspicion of fuel theft. Officers found six five-gallon fuel drums in the rear of the people carrier filled with diesel and petrol.

Police say the car has been involved in 19 drive-offs around Bolton and other parts of Greater Manchester including Didsbury and Middleton in the last fortnight. It is estimated fuel worth nearly £2,000 has been stolen in the incidents.

Police say the car was a danger to the passengers and other members of the public because of the risk of an explosion with so much fuel in the vehicle.