Police trial new initiative to combat fuel theft

Fuel thieves have been put on notice by police in Sydney’s inner west, in a trial program backed by the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW.

The initiative has seen police from the Burwood Police Area Command place fail-to-pay stickers on fuel bowsers in petrol stations across Burwood, Strathfield, Ashfield, Concord and Drummoyne.

According to figures from the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores 2019 State of the Industry Report, compiled by Convenience Measures Australia, fuel theft cost the average store $166.91 in losses each week last year.

Burwood PAC crime manager, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Pryde, said the aim of this initiative was to remind people that it was not a victimless crime.

“Failing to pay for the fuel you put in a vehicle is fraud and a crime – you are stealing from service station providers,” Det Ch Insp Pryde said.

“Our officers take fraud very seriously and we encourage those who see others failing to pay for their fuel to come forward and let us know. These stickers will be placed at petrol bowsers to serve as a reminder to the community that if you fill your vehicle up with petrol, the next step is to ensure that you pay for it or you’ll likely receive a visit from police.”

MTA NSW spokesman Wayne Pickering said while many were facing difficult financial circumstances at the moment, the crime hit small businesses hard.

“MTA NSW also understands important trends in the community, such as increasing petrol prices, and economic challenges, can fuel criminal activity locally,” Mr Pickering said.

“We are pleased to partner with the NSW Police to help make aware the impacts of fuel drive offs on small business owners, especially Service Station owners.”

The program will be trialled in the area over the coming months before it’s expected to be rolled out state-wide.


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