Servos to name and shame dodgy petrol thieves

Thousands of Sydneysiders are driving off without paying for petrol, spawning a new online “name and shame” website.

The drive-off epidemic in NSW – which works out as more than 20 cases a day – costs servos an estimated $50 million in lost revenue each year, bumping up prices for honest customers.

Now fed-up retailers have created a group called Servo Watch in a bid to hold petrol thieves to account, posting videos of drivers allegedly stealing fuel as a warning to others.

In a statement the group says: “Servo Watch was born out of frustration of the little action taken by law enforcers and policy makers to prevent mass theft happening daily.”

Latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) reveal there have been more than 7,000 drive-offs from servos recorded in the past year.

The data shows the worst hotspots in Greater Sydney for petrol thieves are Blacktown, Penrith, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland and Burwood.

“What we generally find is an increase in the prevalence of the offence does match quite well with an increase in petrol prices,” NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Acting Executive Director Jackie Fitzgerald said.

Petrol is one of the biggest weekly expenses for Australian households, reflected in lower rates of theft in more affluent areas.

Jeff Rogut from the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores says: “Every time someone steals petrol it goes to the bottom line of an independent operator and largely a franchisee.”

The BOCSAR data, compiled using NSW Police crime records for 9News, shows there were 7,527 petrol drive-offs in the 12 months to March 2019.

Detective Acting Superintendent Richard Pufferr from NSW Police says: “Failing to pay for petrol can be a criminal offence.

“We have a reporting process in place and we encourage all organisations who believe they are a victim of the offence to report.”

Drive-offs dwarfed all other crimes committed at servos, which added another 1,840 thefts to the annual total.

The lowest levels were recorded in affluent suburbs like Hunters Hill, Woollahra and Mosman.


Extracted from 9News

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