Forecourt crime rises, data shows

Forecourt crime increased by 20.5% during the second quarter of 2021, driven by a near 38% increase in drive-off incidents, new data reveals.

The British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) Forecourt Crime Index increased to 170 in the three months to 30 June and is now at the same level as the fourth quarter of 2019.

The large increase in the index was driven by drive-offs, with the number of incidents rising 37.6% during the second quarter. No means of payment incidents increased by only 12.9% during the second quarter. While the average number of litres taken per drive-off fell to 30.5 litres in the second quarter from 31.4 in the first quarter and the average value of each drive-off incident rose to £39.16 from £38.19 in the first quarter.

The average number of incidents per site increased to 17, compared to 14 incident in the first quarter of the year. However, the average litres of fuel taken per incident increased 13.6% to 46.7 litres, compared to 41.1 litres in the first quarter.

The average price of fuel during the Q2 period increased by 5.4% to 128.4 pence per litre, compared to 121.8 ppl in the first quarter.

Kevin Eastwood, BOSS executive director, said: “The BOSS Index has returned to 2019 levels, but the jump during 2021 reflects the growth in traffic as economic activity recovers from the pandemic.

“The big increase in the number of drive-off incidents emphasises that forecourt retailers should be watchful at all times, but especially when forecourts are congested with customers.

“No Means of Payment remains the biggest challenge facing forecourt operators and accounts for more than two thirds of all forecourt fuel crime by value and costs the average forecourt outlet more than £10,000 every year.”