Fuel thefts: RHA wants more reports

Chrys Rampley, RHA manager for infrastructure and security, has spoken to Facts magazine about the ongoing issue of fuel theft.

The article in Facts states that, while fuel theft is undoubtedly a problem for all vehicle users, the scale of the problem is still largely unknown.

This has made fighting fuel theft difficult, as without accurate information on the scale of fuel theft, problem areas and methods, it is almost impossible for authorities to create a coherent strategy to fight it.

Chrys said: “There is so little reported because a lot of people don’t think anything will be done about it. We keep trying to persuade our members to report it, even if nothing can be done about that specific incident. If we can build a pattern, it gives us a picture and then we can do something to tackle it.”

Fuel thefts are carried out in a number of ways, from individual thieves syphoning fuel from vehicle tanks, employees skimming fuel or organised gangs using high-powered pumps to drain truck tanks in minutes.

“They will pull up alongside a vehicle on a lay-by or at a motorway service area and siphon a large quantity of fuel – 200-300 litres in a few minutes,” Chrys said.

The RHA has identified a shortage of safe lorry parking spaces as a major threat to hauliers. The main problem areas are motorway service stations, lay-bys and industrial estates. These are often poorly lit, easily accessible and have little or no CCTV coverage.

The information the RHA has amassed has pointed to a number of hotspots around the country. “The area around the A34 is a hotspot, up around the south of Oxford,” Chrys said. “There are several laybys up there, which are quite popular.”

The RHA wants to encourage the creation of more safe parking areas, but Chrys noted that has proven difficult. “The biggest issues are still around planning. We have companies who are interested in building secure facilities, but trying to get these applications through the planning system takes years.”

You can read more of Chrys’ interview with Facts magazine here, on page 80.