The UK has seen a 215% quarter-on-quarter increase in reports of No Means of Payment and Drive Off incidents, new data from the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) reveals.
The figures also shows that the number of litres of unpaid fuel increased by 68% during the first week of March, compared with the first week of December. However, the average number of litres per incident fell from 55 litres in December to 41 litres in March.
BOSS has also received reports about some motorists using large containers to draw and store fuel. In one instant a small compact car was reported to have drawn 128 litres of petrol.
Claire Nichol, Managing Director at BOSS, said: “High fuel prices make not paying for fuel more attractive to criminals and we’ve seen the number reports about unpaid fuel increase significantly in recent weeks.
“The fall in litres-taken per incident suggests that motorists who deliberately evade paying for fuel are nervous about filling up completely as it might draw attention to their actions.”
Nichol added: “We’d advise forecourt operators to be extra vigilant during peak periods. They should also retain any CCTV recordings, and ensure that information about vehicles involved in either driving away from a forecourt without paying for fuel, or a motorist claiming to have no means of payment for fuel, is accurate.
“Should the number of incidents continue to rise, we could see the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index reach the highest level since records were introduced.”
A free copy of the BOSS Drive-Off Prevention guide can be downloaded from the BOSS website.