Lorry drivers and haulage company owners are being urged to be aware of thieves targeting lorries and other heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) for fuel. Between 1 August 2022 and 18 November 2022 there were 30 incidents reported to police where HGVs had large volumes of diesel syphoned from their tanks. The majority of the fuel thefts in Suffolk took place while lorries were parked overnight in laybys on the A14 and A12. Police are aware that not all incidents are reported, and the number of thefts is likely to be higher. All incidents should be reported to police so important evidence can be gathered. The warning comes after two arrests were made on 22 November in relation to the theft of fuel from HGVs. Officers stopped a vehicle on the A14 near Newmarket which was suspected to be involved in the theft of fuel. The occupants, two men in their 30s, were both arrested on suspicion of theft and of going equipped to steal and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning. The pair were subsequently bailed to return to police on 20 February next year. Detective Inspector Stuart Dolan said: “With the increase in the price of fuel in the past year we have seen a rise in the number of these types of thefts. Thieves are damaging and breaking fuel caps in a bid to get to the fuel. I would urge any lorry drivers and haulage company owners to take steps to prevent themselves from becoming victims. We have also seen the theft of fuel elsewhere, such as from farm storage tanks. If you are a victim, please report the incident as soon as possible. Equally, if you witness any suspicious activity, for example people tampering with lorries late at night, please report this straight away via 999, as this gives us the best chance to catch those responsible.”
Fuel theft prevention advice for HGVs and large vans
Commercial vehicles are often seen as prime targets for fuel thefts because of the volume of fuel in their fuel tanks and because these types of vehicles are often parked in insecure laybys on busy dual carriageways, with fuel stolen whilst the drivers are asleep within their vehicles. In addition to the cost of the stolen fuel, vehicle fuel caps, tanks and fuel lines are sometimes damaged. Secured By Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that looks to provide crime reduction advice. The SBD website details police approved crime reduction products, including items that can alert drivers if offenders are attempting to steal their fuel or break into any sections within the vehicle.
Vehicle crime information can be found here.
Various crime reduction leaflets are available here.
Further advice on fuel theft in general can be viewed here.
Locking fuel caps and anti-siphoning deterrents are among those products available that can make fuel tanks on vehicles less vulnerable, but these could be damaged if an offender manages to gain access to the vehicle. Fitting such devices may affect warranties. Any drivers noticing people loitering near vehicles should note the time, date, and location, as well as the descriptions of the people. Adopt defensive parking measures whenever and wherever possible, such as parking in a highly visible, well-lit areas, or using off-road parking areas such as secure compounds or lorry parks. Park vehicles so that fuel tanks are as inaccessible as possible, such as parking the vehicle tank close to a wall or park vehicles tank to tank if possible. Don’t make it easy for the thieves - make sure that compounds don’t contain items that may help a thief intending to steal from your vehicles. Objects that could be used for climbing perimeter fencing shouldn’t be left lying around. For vehicles parked within business compounds, install effective security lighting and CCTV at the compound. Business perimeters should have good quality perimeter fencing to deter thieves.