�3,150 of diesel stolen by raiders

MORE than �3,000 of diesel has been stolen in a spate of night-time raids in a north Essex town.

Police say a gang has been targeting commercial vehicles in the Braintree area, stealing an estimated �3,150 of fuel in the last month.

Officers are urging managers of commercial fleets to take precautions, such as fitting anti-siphoning devices.

It comes after it was revealed earlier this month that 60 catalytic converters were stolen in the Braintree district in August and September.

Chief Inspector Nick Lee, of Braintree Police, said: “There is clearly a group of thieves actively stealing diesel from commercial vehicles and fuel tanks in the north of Essex, primarily operating in Braintree district.

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“I would urge managers of commercial fleets to be aware of these thefts, and take all reasonable precautions to protect their vehicles and fuel.

“Anti-siphoning devices can be purchased which prevent fuel being stolen from vehicles.

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“I would ask any residents who live near industrial areas or sites of fuel tanks to report any suspicious behaviour, particularly during the night.

“The thieves must be using a vehicle to transport the stolen fuel, so if you see any suspicious behaviour, please also note the make and index number of any vehicles involved.”

Statistics released in August by the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed average UK diesel prices, at 118.7 pence per litre, were the highest in the European Union. Tax made up 63% of the UK’s price of diesel in July, compared with between 44 and 57% in the rest of the EU.

Anyone with information about these thefts, or an experience of being offered cheap fuel in the Braintree area, is asked to call Essex Police on 0300 3334444 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The 0300 number can also be used to speak to a crime prevention advisor, to get more information about anti-siphoning devices.

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