Police pump resources into reducing diesel theft
Updated on 9th October 2012
Police in Bassetlaw have built up quite the collection of fuel drums and barrels as they disrupt diesel thieves operating on main commuter routes into the county.
Officers have launched Operation Cargo following an increase in the number of reports of fuel theft in the district.
Since January 2012, the Force has seen 149 reports of theft of and attempted theft of fuel, with 37% of those being in the vicinity of the A1.
A common method used by thieves is to hide various containers in or behind hedges at lay-bys, with the intention of returning late at night to steal diesel from parked vehicles as their drivers sleep. They then hide the full containers and return the next day to pick them up.
As a result, police have graded each lay-by in the area either red, amber or green to signify its popularity with fuel thieves, and are policing them appropriately.
They are working with fuel companies to better track diesel and are focussing patrols in the areas, blocking off routes made through hedges and seizing any containers.
Nearly 1,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel was seized in two warrants at addresses in Worksop and Harworth. Two men were subsequently arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. Both were released without further action.
Three other men were also arrested on suspicion of going equipped to steal fuel after a vehicle stop.
Sergeant Jon Hewitt, who is leading the operation, said: “Nearly 40,000 vehicles travel along the A1 in Nottinghamshire each day. It is a major commuter and business route though the country, and these criminals take advantage of that.
“The section in Nottinghamshire is also quite remote and vehicles parked up on the A57 feeder road are also a target for thieves. But we are on to them.
“Those convicted of diesel theft not only face jail but we will do everything within our means to take away their modes of transport, by disqualifying them from driving and seizing the vehicles they use to commit crime.
“Report any suspicious activity in lay-bys and around vehicles parked in lay-bys to us immediately.
“We are also interested to hear about anyone who is storing large quantities of fuel or from anyone who has received an unsolicited approach to buy fuel.
“Fuel is extremely flammable and the incorrect storage of it, whether it is in unsuitable containers or an unventilated space, can be a major fire hazard and risks serious injury to those in the vicinity.”
Anyone with any information should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In an emergency dial 999