Surrey police is using undercover officers in a bid to crack down on drive-offs.

Officers are positioned at the BP service station in Green Wrythe Lane, Carshalton and at other targeted forecourts in the borough – either in unmarked police cars or on foot patrol in plain clothes.

The operation, which is being led by the Wrythe Safer Neighbourhoods Team, will run for a number of weeks at different venues on different days and times.

There were 19 reported crimes at the BP service station in Green Wrythe Lane in January and 15 in February. Some of the offences were shoplifting, but the vast majority were drive-offs.

Sergeant Jon Eames of the Wrythe Safer Neighbourhoods Team said he wanted to get the message out to the small minority of drivers who commit this type of offence that ‘the police will be onto you’. “Drivers will never know whether or not they are being watched,” he said.

Inspector Neil Tyre of Sutton Police station, added: “We want to deter drivers from committing these offences and catch those that do commit them. Many offenders do this on false number plates which will open up additional lines of enquiry when investigating these crimes.”