Police takes ‘Fuel Action’ as petrol station owner speaks about incidents

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 September 2020

Saracens filling station in Thaxted is one of the businesses who suffered from fuel theft. Photo: Andra Maciuca.

Saracens filling station in Thaxted is one of the businesses who suffered from fuel theft. Photo: Andra Maciuca.

Andra Maciuca

Essex Police has been tackling fuel theft by offering crime prevention advice to staff and owners of petrol stations.

Saracens filling station in Thaxted is one of the businesses who suffered from fuel theft. Photo: Andra Maciuca..Saracens filling station in Thaxted is one of the businesses who suffered from fuel theft. Photo: Andra Maciuca..

The Business Crime Unit has been meeting staff at petrol stations in Essex as part of the force’s project, Fuel Action.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: “The team are working with them to help reduce the number of people who make off without paying for petrol.

“Many petrol stations across Essex lose thousands of pounds of fuel each month due to this criminal activity. Many garages are franchises, so it’s often local business owners who are being affected.”

Advice includes recording as much information as possible about incidents in order to report them, such as the vehicles and the drivers responsible.

Kim Cowell, owner of Saracens Petrol Station in Thaxted, said his business had a few fuel theft incidents before lockdown.

He spoke about some of the precautions Saracens is taking to prevent these incidents: “We have a full CCTV system. We are well covered. We can always detect them. We get their registration numbers, although they are often fake ones.”

Kim said other sites suffer far more incidents. He heard of sites where staff confronted drivers and then drivers were trying to run them over.

He said: “I wouldn’t want to put my staff in danger. We would hope the police have the ability and the time to follow it up. Trouble with a lot of these things is that there’s not enough police around.

“It’s a wild world at the moment.

“Crime still happens but there is fewer police to deal with it and we are suffering the consequences. The police do the best they can, but they just do not have the resources to deal with it. Until they have them we deal with it and do what we can.

Last year, Saracens was ram-raided, but Kim said the petrol station was “very fortunate”, as nothing was taken.

He said: “We just suffered £5,000 in damages. I am sure police tried to investigate it, but they just do not have the resources. We accept that. We just take all the precautions.”


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