Sheffield & South Yorkshire

No arrests in 85% of South Yorkshire fuel thefts

Figures show 85% of fuel thefts from petrol stations in South Yorkshire remain unsolved.

Action was taken against offenders in just 1,458 of 10,027 cases between 2007 and 2011.

The figures were released by police after the BBC made a Freedom of Information request.

Ch Insp Gwyn Thomas from South Yorkshire Police said the force was "working to improve its detection rate".

'Losing all the time'

Mr Thomas said: "We've been working quite diligently with the petrol owners and the retail consumers to reduce the number of offences being committed at forecourts."

He said tactics to reduce fuel thefts included the use of numberplate recognition, CCTV and forecourt watch systems.

"The detection rate for people who drive off from petrol stations is something we are working to improve on with the retailers," added Mr Thomas.

In 2011 there were 1,910 reported fuel thefts from petrol stations in South Yorkshire, of which 289 cases were detected by police.

Charges were brought over 124 of the thefts, with the remaining 165 offences resulting in a caution or warning, or being taken into consideration.

Collette Bates, who manages a petrol station in Sheffield, said: "We only make about 3 or 4p a litre on fuel... so if they're stealing £30 or £40 worth of fuel a day we're not making any profit, we're losing all the time.

"It's just a drive-off so it's not really taken as seriously [by police], so that's why you get the same lad who keeps coming and doing it all the time because they're never getting caught."

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