Retailers and members of the public urged to be vigilant following fuel thefts from petrol stations
Police are advising retailers and members of the public to be vigilant following fuel thefts from two petrol stations in Newtownards yesterday (Tuesday 29 November).
Inspector Donnelly stated: “At approximately 4pm, it was reported that a man had entered the forecourt of a business in the Killinchy Road area of Comber and filled a drum with diesel before making off without paying.
“A short time later, just after 5pm, a man entered the forecourt of a second station on the Rathgael Road in Bangor.
“The man proceeded to fill two drums with diesel and made of on foot without paying.
“Enquiries are ongoing in order to establish if both incidents are linked and I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed either incident or who may have footage that could assist with our investigation, to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1892 of 29/11/22."
Inspector Donnelly continued: “Leaving a garage without paying for fuel is now classified as a crime.
“Previously, enquiries would have been conducted to establish if the incident was a genuine mistake or actual theft before, but now it is automatically classed as crime.
“In short, every time a customer/motorist forgets to pay for their petrol/diesel they could potentially face a criminal conviction.
“Since the increase in fuel prices in March 2022 and the current cost of living crisis, if you consider how much it costs to fill the tank of a car, this can result in a significant loss to a business if it is happening on a regular basis.
“We are encouraging forecourt owners to take measures to help prevent the number of thefts from occurring. This can include displaying clear signs around the pumps asking motorists to ensure they have the necessary funds to pay for their fuel and installing CCTV. Staff should also be vigilant to activity on the forecourt and report anything suspicious to the police immediately. Don’t forget to note down details such as registration numbers and a description of the driver.
“Police continue to remind the public that motorists who fail to pay for fuel at forecourts could be liable for prosecution and anyone who witnesses any type of fuel theft is urged to contact police.”
A report can also be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/