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Industry chiefs have criticised the government ministers and the police for doing very little to stop what is a growing problems on the nation’s forecourts.
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) cannot understand why the Government is leaving the problems to be dealt with my local police officers and has warned that if drivers continue to speed out of petrol stations without paying, someone will soon get killed.
A forecourt operator, Mr Maddison, who manages approximately 400 sites across the UK has claimed that the level of drive-offs on his forecourts has almost doubled in the past year and is becoming an increasing hazard.
One Asian petrol station manager, Lekshmanan Asokkumar, was almost killed last week when he was driven half a mile down the A20 in Kent on the bonnet of a car after trying to stop two teenagers driving off without paying for fuel at a Texaco garage.
Mr Madderson told the Daily Telegraph: “Fuel theft has reached epidemic levels. I have one member who says it has almost doubled and others are reporting big increases.
“The problem with drive-offs is that people don’t just put in £20 and go, they put £70 in, the maximum they can get. As things stand our members still have to pay the duty on every last bit of it.”
He added: “Retailers can do as much as they can, write down number plates, install CCTV but the police are saying that before they enter it into their records as a criminal office we have got to prove evidence of criminal intent by the motorist. That’s near impossible.
In response to a letter written by the PRA to the justice minister Damian Green, he explained that although he “sympathised” with the growing concerns of forecourt operators, he was “unable to intervene in operational policing decisions to tackle crime.”
The AA motoring organisation has previously called for tighter controls on who can buy, such as providing a credit card imprint or paying before you fill. But it admist both methods would cause “hassle” for motorists as they would have to make two trips to the kiosk.