Teamwork pays off on petrol theft

Picture: Petrol pumps - diesel.

Picture: Petrol pumps - diesel.

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PETROL theft from forecourts across Bassetlaw has halved in the past year, according to latest figures published by Notts Police.

The statistics, obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information request, show that there were just 61 reported crimes last year - compared to 124 in 2011.

The figures also show a steady decrease in petrol thefts over the past five years, with 148 crimes recorded in 2008, 129 in 2009 and 112 in 2010.

Inspector Steve Cartwright, is the county east lead for forecourt crime, and said the drop is due to his team’s work in making petrol stations ‘less attractive’ and ‘less subject’ to theft.

“We call it target hardening at the forecourts -it’s about making it less attractive for thieves to drive off without paying for petrol,” he said.

“This involves a range of measures from Automatic Number Plate Recognition, CCTV warning signs, pre-pay on some of the most vulnerable pumps as well as upgrading CCTVwhich has allowed us to track down offenders and bring them to justice.”

Insp Cartwright said he was pleased the initiatives were paying off and that the force would continue to work with forecourts across the district to drive crime down further.

“My colleague Sergeant Karl Hagland is taking the lead on training forecourt staff to be more aware of suspicious behaviour so they can take the appropriate action,” he said.

“It’s not just about filling your car up and driving off - some people have barrels on the back seat which they also fill up so we train forecourt staff to look out for people filling up their cars with the back doors open.”

He added: “We share intelligence and information with the forecourts and moving forwards we are looking at more dynamic intervention by immediately informing forecourts of any reported stolen vehicles.”

“While there has been a reduction in theft of petrol from forecourts, we have seen a slight shift with hauliers being targeted by diesel thieves, particularly on the A1 and A57.”

Insp Cartwright warned people to be on the lookout for ‘bilking’ - making off with a service without any payment.

“We all use petrol stations and this is not a victimless crime. We are all victims in this because the forecourts have to put up their prices to recoup those costs. Anyone who witnesses theft should call Notts Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111,” he said.