Thieves steal £76,705 in fuel across county

BP Garage, London Road, Brandon
BP Garage, London Road, Brandon
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More than £76,700 in fuel has been stolen from forecourts across Suffolk in the past five years.

Forest Heath was the most targeted area for fuel thefts with thieves making off with £25,085.19 from 2008 to 2012.

The shock figures were revealed by Suffolk Police following a Freedom of Information Request as retailers warn that the criminal activity is on the increase.

In total, police have recorded 1,290 fuel theft crimes in Suffolk over the five years with 401 in Forest Heath.

This compares with 119 in St Edmundsbury to the cost of £8,297.77 and 63 in Mid Suffolk at £4,713.

The amount of non crimes, where police believe it was a ‘genuine mistake’ to drive off without payment, stands at 601 in the county with 185 in Forest Heath.

The number of positive disposals, which could include a charge, caution or community resolution, is 287 in Suffolk including 74 in Forest Heath and 31 in St Edmundsbury.

Suffolk Police are now encouraging retailers to review their security following the rise in fuel costs. They advise owners to install or upgrade CCTV systems and ensure forecourts are well lit.

Tracey Kent, manager at a BP garage, in London Road, Brandon, said: “Touch wood we have not had a drive off for a long time. It’s not a regular occurrence, it only happens now and then. We have CCTV so nine times out of 10 we get it on there and it gets taken on.”

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, said most of the ‘anecdotal evidence’ suggests forecourt crime is on the increase. He said: “It’s a real worry because that hits straight to the bottom line of the retailer as we’re not able to claw the duty back which is about 60 pence of every litre from the Government.”