Figures obtained by PetrolPrices.com have confirmed fears that fuel theft has risen by up to 50% in the last year in some parts of the country, as fuel prices rise more in the first 6 months of 2008 than all of 2007.
Following concerns and comments from PetrolPrices.com members, figures for the first quarter of 2008 and 2007 were obtained from the police under the Freedom of Information Act. The data shows that theft from vehicles (siphoning) and theft from petrol stations (bilking) are up year on year in all of the 3 counties examined.
The worst hit of the 3 areas is Greater Manchester, where figures show an extra 400 instances of fuel theft. For the first quarter of 2007 Greater Manchester had 1062 instances of bilking, rising to 1462 for the same period in 2008. Siphoning is up 12.5%.
Fuel theft in Northumberland has risen the fastest, where bilking is up 49%, from 148 thefts between January and April 2007 to 221 for the same period in 2008. Figures for the same dates in Northumberland show that siphoning is up 52%, from 48 to 73 thefts.
Siphoning is also up in Essex – an increase of 44% year on year. However, bilking was down by 11% from 1074 to 955 recorded instances. Essex police attributed this to a greater awareness of the problem and increased security measures at petrol stations.
The national average price of unleaded for the first quarter of 2007 was 88.1p a litre, while diesel was 92.2p. The first quarter of this year the national average price of unleaded and diesel rose to 104.9p and 110.9p respectively.
Prices have been risen at an unprecedented rate since the beginning of 2008, with both unleaded and diesel rising more in the first half of 2008 than in total for 2007. Unleaded has risen 16.5p or 16% to 119.5p so far this year, and diesel has risen 23.7p or 22% to 133.0p. By comparison, unleaded and diesel rose by in 14.7p or 14.2% and 14.3p or 15.3% in total in 2007.
"We're all feeling the pain of rocketing fuel prices, but it seems some people are resorting to increasingly drastic and unscrupulous measures. I would urge all motorists to seek out their cheapest fuel on PetrolPrices.com to lessen the impact of rising prices, and to keep their car in a garage overnight if possible to avoid becoming a victim of fuel theft."
"The UK's fuel tax system is simply not fit for times like this when oil prices are consistently setting new records. The Government need to work out a way to protect motorists and the economy – we need an immediate tax cut. Fuel is already taxed twice, so they could easily look at scrapping VAT."
~ Brendan McLoughlin, Founder, PetrolPrices.com.