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Fuel theft on the increase as fuel prices continue to rise

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Following two cases of high volume fuel theft in November alone, The Fuelcard Company is warning hauliers and transport operators to be extra vigilant against thieves.

Fuel theft accounted for nearly two thirds (64 percent) of all thefts from LGVs last year, over 1,600 cases. Nationally, this is a 17 percent year on year rise with the number of incidents expected to increase further as fuel prices continue to escalate. The recent thefts of £7,000 of diesel from a large fuel tank at one of North Yorkshire Council’s highway depots and emptying of coach tanks at a transport company in Norfolk, demonstrate the varied approaches taken by thieves.

In the Norfolk case, fuel caps were removed from the vehicles, which had been securely locked in the company’s compound, and fuel siphoned directly from the tanks. Each vehicle lost an estimated £1,000 in fuel leaving the coaches unable to undertake their daily school run and the owners having to replace the stolen diesel. This could be detrimental to the business’ survival.

“There is a strong link between rising fuel prices and rising crime,” explains The Fuelcard Company’s marketing director, Jakes de Kock. “Businesses simply can’t afford to lose such a high volume and high worth commodity, not to mention the damage that may be done to tanks and vehicles. We’re seeing an increase in cases of thieves drilling through vehicle fuel tanks to access fuel, the cost of replacing both the tank and the fuel could mean make or break for some transport businesses.

“We are urging anyone who handles large volumes of fuel, whether in compound storage or simply in vehicles fuel tanks, to be extra vigilant. As the price of fuel continues to soar, it will become an increasingly attractive commodity to thieves.”

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