Top Cop Says Bill People in Advance for Petrol to Reduce Thefts

By Gary Cutlack on at

The police forces of the UK are tired of racing to the rescue of garage forecourt staff phoning to report that someone drove off without paying for their fuel again, as this is wasting precious investigative time officers could instead spend intervening in a Facebook argument about parking outside a school. Hence a man has an idea.

The man is Simon Cole from the National Police Chiefs' Council, and his idea is making drivers pay for petrol before they put it in their cars. This would involve gutting and retooling the current system so is probably quite unlikely to happen, although Cole says that in countries where a similar system is in place drive-away theft rates are much lower than they are in the UK – so he's putting the idea out there. Seeing if it sticks. No harm in saying what you think.

Cole says 12 per cent of the crime reports his Leicestershire force receive are to do with fuel theft, but he thinks the UK garage system -- so reliant on selling chocolate, low-grade coffee, Top Gear compilation CDs and pork pies to shore up their finances – would rather see the 25,000 annual reported fuel thefts continue, as getting drivers into their garage-side SPAR/M&S outlets makes the odd theft a price worth paying. [Telegraph via BBC]