Motorists Take Precautions to Prevent Fuel Theft

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Worried motorists are stepping up car security in the wake of reports of a growing wave of fuel thefts. Halfords reveals sales of locking fuel caps up 54% in the past week. Police also warn of a rise in thefts of number plates that can be used in drive-offs from petrol stations.

Worried motorists are stepping up car security in the wake of reports of a growing wave of fuel thefts.

Halfords reveals sales of locking fuel caps up 54% in the past week. Police also warn of a rise in thefts of number plates that can be used in drive-offs from petrol stations.

The disturbing trend come as unrest in the Middle East has sent the cost of oil soaring, with predictions the price of fuel will rise by 5p a litre by April and could hit £8 a gallon.

Police across the country are reporting a surge in petrol thefts and forces have launched campaigns to target the petrol criminals and advise garage owners to step up security.

In Derbyshire fuel thefts rose 23% in the final six months of 2010. In Fife, Scotland’s second largest region, police say there has been a marked rise in thefts from parked cars, with fuel pipes being cut.

Metropolitan Police in Hillingdon, West London said this type of crime is up after reports of gangs hitting cars parked in residential streets. The Metropolitan Police estimated over £500,000 of fuel was stolen from filling stations in London by thieves using vehicles fitted with false plates.

Thames Valley has launched a Crimestoppers campaign to inform the public about theft resistant plates.

Halfords Autocentres, the UK’s largest independent garage network specialising in the car MOTs, car servicing and aftercare market, has been co-ordinating with forces to advise motorists on fitting tamper proof plates.

Rory Carlin, Marketing Director at Halfords Autocentres, said: "With ever increasing fuel prices this sort of crime will become more attractive to the criminal fraternity. We can help our customers with vehicle security by advising on tamper proof number plates. We are committed to helping our customers stay safe and stay on the road.”

The Association of Chief Police Officers is campaigning for all cars to have such tamper proof plates fitted as standard and urges motorists to make it harder for criminals to target vehicles.

“This is a growing problem,” said an ACPO spokesman. “We welcome any move that encourages the public to fit secure number plates. A legitimate number plate is essential if a vehicle is to be properly identified.”                                                                                                                        

Notes to editors:

Halfords has rebranded the chain of 240 Halfords Autocentres, formerly Nationwide Autocentres, which offer car servicing, repairs and MOTs in its distinctive orange and black branding. The network will be 400 strong within five years, creating 1,000 new jobs. For more information visit: http://www.halfordsautocentres.com/.

*OnePoll survey of 2,000 motorists

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Richard Skidmore