Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fuel hikes fuel crime

In most European (and Australian) cities, petrol attendants don’t exist. The public will fill up their own car and then pay an employee of the station the required amount in a booth nearby.

When I first saw this, I sat in the car and wondered how station owners could trust the public. Surely anyone could full up their tank and then speed off? Who would stop them?

But then I realised that there were about four cameras watching me that very second. Anyone who failed to pay their petrol bill would be reported to the police and hauled in. So why would someone take the chance?

But then I guess SA petrol stations are no different, apart from the fact we have petrol attendants, we also have CCTV.

So, does CCTV stop SA motorists from driving off without paying?

According to IOL, it doesn't, and it is on the increase.

But SA fuel theives have another trick up their sleeves....

Peter Noke, director of the SA Petroleum Industry Association, says that many motorists that commit petrol theft are either using stolen or undocumented licence plates, or are completely unlicensed.

This, of course, is making it more difficult for authorities to take criminal action.

Not only are these criminals asking to full their own tanks, but are also asking attendants to full additional drums at the back of their car! They then ask the attendant for oil, and once he has gone, the car speeds off.

The reason for the recent increase in fuel theft is because of skyrocketing fuel prices.

"Fuel prices are at an all-time high. People are doing everything they can to survive. Tricking petrol stations is just another way to combat the high prices. It's something that petrol stations and the police need to work on together," said Noke.

Authorities have now advised petrol stations to be wary of cars without licence plates.

They also caution drivers to keep a keen eye on their own plates, as licence theft is on the increase.

So regularly check your plates!

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