Police believe the rise in fuel prices are responsible for the sudden increase in petrol and diesel thefts in the West Midlands.
There have been 83 recorded incidents of petrol and diesel thefts (often referred to as ‘bilking’) in Wolverhampton since March, with police believing that organised crime units are behind the majority.
The AA reported last week that the average cost of 1 litre of petrol had soared to 142.48p with diesel reaching 147.88p.
Sgt Colin Mattinson explained that the force is working hard with petrol stations to stamp out the rising trend in petrol thefts.
“It may well be something to do with the increase in fuel prices. It could be any number of factors really,” stated Sgt Mattinson.
“Vigilance is key.
“People tend to park at the far pumps to try not to show their faces to the cameras and to hide themselves the best as possible.
“I think it’s a case of looking at those people and drawing them forward to the further pumps.”
Shailesh Parekh is the owner of one independent petrol station that has been on the receiving end of bilkers.
Despite training his cashiers to spot the tell-tale signs of potential bilkers, he has still lost approximately £3,000 in the past year from just one of his stations.
One van driver even took £150 worth of diesel.
“At my petrol stations we’ve started using websites where you can verify number plates so we haven’t suffered so badly [this year],” explained Mr Parekh.
“You can also go on websites to check if a car is insured.
“You have to be a bit of a detective but it makes you wonder why you’re doing the business.”
Mr Parekh also stated that paying for the fuel up front may help to tackle the problem.