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Petrol thefts on increase

The number of motorists in Harrow driving off from petrol stations without paying has increased in the past six months.
A police sign at a garage forecourt

The number of motorists in Harrow driving off from petrol stations without paying has increased in the past six months.
Since January there have been 140 incidents at 14 petrol stations where drivers have filled up their tanks and sped off in an attempt to avoid spiralling fuel costs.
To combat the rise in thefts Harrow Police have launched Forecourt Watch in partnership with petrol retailers in the borough and the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS).
Detective Inspector Richard Metcalfe said: "This problem has increased significantly with the recent rise in fuel prices. We are affected by this crime as ultimately any losses suffered by the industry will be passed on to paying customers.  
"Safer Neighbourhood teams across the borough will be linking with the 14 petrol stations and we are in discussions with other stations in Harrow."
He added petrol stations would be upgrading their CCTV and the police will also be using undercover officers in cars to tackle the crimes.
One of the petrol stations hardest hit is Total, in Pinner Road, Pinner. The garage has been the victim of 16 incidents in the last six months. Kethees Velauthapillai, the manager, has seen people driving off without paying and realises it is a problem in the borough.
He said: "There have been a few in the whole of Harrow and I think the rise in petrol prices is one reason as petrol is costing more.  
"But if someone wants to drive off without paying there is nothing you can do to stop them. We always tell staff not to chase after motorists that drive off and report it to the police."
Susan Hall (Conservative) deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for environment services, said: "I don't blame companies for wanting to do this, more and more businesses will go out of business if people keep stealing from them.
"We must be vigilant and try to stop this kind of crime."

Petrol drive-off offences in Harrow since January 2008

Esso, in Marsh Lane, Harrow 32  
BP, in Bessborough Road, Harrow 23
Total, in Pinner Road, Pinner 16
Tesco, in Alexandra Avenue, Harrow 14
Total, in High Street, Wealdstone 13
Shell, in Pinner Green, Pinner 11
Esso, in Belmont Circle, Harrow 11
BP, in Stanmore Hill, Stanmore 6
Tesco, in Honeypot Lane, Stanmore 6
Jet, in Kenton Road, Kenton 2
Waitrose, in Northolt Road, Harrow 2
Total, in Headstone Lane, Harrow 1

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