Suffolk: Spike in fuel thefts as cost of petrol continues to rise

Cost of pertol continues to rise

Cost of pertol continues to rise - Credit: PA

Fuel thieves are increasingly targeting homes and businesses across Suffolk, new figures reveal, amid growing concerns over rising petrol costs.

Desperate criminals have siphoned nearly £230,000 of fuel from homes – and more than £500,000 from business premises including farms, hotels and restaurants – since the start of the recession.

The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, reveal an upward trend.

Just under £47,000 of fuel was stolen from private residential properties in 2012/13 – double the amount of £23,482 in the county in 2007/08.

A total of 1,000 incidents were recorded in this period, with 130 in 2007/08 rising to 204 in the last financial year. It means fuel thieves targeted a Suffolk household more than every two days on average in 2012/13 – making off with an average amount of £230 on each occasion.

Meanwhile, criminals siphoned £93,000 of fuel from commercial properties such as farms, hotels and restaurants in 2012/13 – a sharp rise from £43,734 in 2007/08. The total amount over the six-year period stood at £512,036.

The findings have prompted industry experts and Suffolk police to warn homeowners and businesses to be extra vigilant.

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The average cost of petrol has risen by 78% in the last 10 years. Drivers paid £38.95 to fill a typical 50-litre tank in 2003 at 77.9p per litre – today it costs £69.16 at 138.32p per litre.

Luke Bosdet, AA public affairs spokesman, said: “The majority of these thefts are done by organised criminals and if you take them out by spotting them and reporting them to the police then there is a good chance that problem will be dealt with in that area for a long time.

“I would advise organised events like music festivals, agriculture shows and horse trials to try and mount some kind of security overnight if people are staying on site for two or three days.

“Advertising these events gives the signal to the organised fuel thieves and simply getting someone to walk around the car parks at night is a good enough deterrent to fuel being stolen.”

A police spokesman said it is also important people with heating oil tanks take security measures to discourage thieves and help minimise the risk of becoming victims.