Durham's police chief unveils new plan in fight against bilking

Durham's police chief unveils new plan in fight against bilking

THEFT WARNING: Chief Constable Mike Barton with a poster warning about fuel theft. Picture: ANDY LAMB (8303838)

THEFT WARNING: Chief Constable Mike Barton with a poster warning about fuel theft. Picture: ANDY LAMB (8303844)

First published in News
Last updated

DURHAM’S chief constable has unveiled plans to identify those filling stations not doing enough to tackle fuel theft - by parking an unused patrol car nearby.

The police vehicle will carry a large sign warning: “Criminals are stealing from this garage. You are paying for their fuel.”

Mike Barton said: “I accept it is a bit eye-catching and that it’s a bit controversial, but it is a product of me being fed up that some people are not pulling their weight to tackle the problem of thefts of fuel from forecourts.”

The chief constable was speaking as it was revealed there had been more than 50 instances of people making off with fuel without paying - known as bilking - between April and June, in County Durham and Darlington.

He said said more garages should be introducing pre-payment for fuel or taking other measures, such as installing CCTV.

Mr Barton said: “It is very expensive to fill your car up now, so I can see there is an obvious temptation for people to pinch fuel.

“Some garage forecourts are more problematic than others, where they get more fuel theft.

“If those garages are not taking reasonable precautions then I think it is legitimate that I park an unused police car outside that forecourt informing members of the public that they are subsidising that theft.

“Because the company will get it back - and they will get it back from the law abiding public who pay for fuel.”

He added: “We are sending officers to reports of bilking, where sometimes the staff who should be there to show us the CCTV footage have gone home and we have to keep going back, when people are having their houses burgled.

“Another problem with bilking is people drive off at speed – putting other people’s lives at risk.”

Mr Barton said in countries such as Spain and the US customers have to pay first to get fuel.

He said: “There are 24-hour filling stations here that are unmanned at night and they will go for pre-payment -so they have the technology and can do it.

“Now I am not saying that every petrol filling station should do this because they don’t need to, but if you have a problem with theft then I think you should go for pre-payment.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:49pm Wed 16 Jul 14

ian923 says...

And parking an unused police car is going to stop these offences? Make sure the car is locked or there,ll be another crime! If they have unused cars does this mean they have too many?
And parking an unused police car is going to stop these offences? Make sure the car is locked or there,ll be another crime! If they have unused cars does this mean they have too many? ian923
  • Score: -7

7:06pm Wed 16 Jul 14

watchingtheworld says...

ian923 wrote:
And parking an unused police car is going to stop these offences? Make sure the car is locked or there,ll be another crime! If they have unused cars does this mean they have too many?
No, it won't stop the thefts but it might embarrass the owners into doing something about the problem which there staff often do little to prevent or indeed there systems (or lack of) do nothing to stop!

At least he is trying something, people should vote with their feet and avoid filling stations that have a high crime problem and go to those that don't.

As for the car I would imagine that it is a car that is at the end of it's service and waiting to go off to be sold...
[quote][p][bold]ian923[/bold] wrote: And parking an unused police car is going to stop these offences? Make sure the car is locked or there,ll be another crime! If they have unused cars does this mean they have too many?[/p][/quote]No, it won't stop the thefts but it might embarrass the owners into doing something about the problem which there staff often do little to prevent or indeed there systems (or lack of) do nothing to stop! At least he is trying something, people should vote with their feet and avoid filling stations that have a high crime problem and go to those that don't. As for the car I would imagine that it is a car that is at the end of it's service and waiting to go off to be sold... watchingtheworld
  • Score: 5

8:40am Thu 17 Jul 14

Daza says...

Totally agree with the Chief here.

Pay before you dispense and you would probably end this crime overnight.

But cos it costs a bit, its just ''Let the Police sort it all out'
Totally agree with the Chief here. Pay before you dispense and you would probably end this crime overnight. But cos it costs a bit, its just ''Let the Police sort it all out' Daza
  • Score: 4

11:17am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts.
Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 1

11:17am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts.
Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts.
Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts.
Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts.
Pay up front for your petrol simple solution gone are the petrol attendants who were employed by petrol stations but with petrol companies they put profit before people. While it could be dangerous for petrol attendants in today's society as they themselves could be attacked. Surely there must be a quicker way to stop morans getting away with petrol thefts. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 1

11:19am Thu 17 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Apologies for same emails coming up having problems with my kindle or it could be me sorry everyone.
Apologies for same emails coming up having problems with my kindle or it could be me sorry everyone. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree