£10,000 of diesel stolen from Crawfordsburn filling station
The owner of a filling station in County Down has spoken of his frustration after fuel worth £10,000 was stolen.
John McCormick, who runs a garage in Crawfordsburn, said he had been left out of pocket after thieves made off with 7,000 litres of diesel.
He has appealed to the public to be vigilant.
It is understood to be only the second time in NI that a filling station has been targeted in such a crime.
Mr McCormick told BBC Radio Ulster that he had received a delivery of fuel last Friday night and was initially baffled when the first customer on Saturday morning was unable to get any diesel.
"I thought the pump had broken down, so I went from one pump then the other, for over an hour, working at them, thinking there was something not right," he said.Disheartened
"Suddenly the penny dropped: 'There's no diesel in my tank. I've been robbed overnight.' When I went and checked my tank gauges, the diesel was empty."
Mr McCormick said he had been totally disheartened by the crime.
He has not replaced the diesel as he is waiting for his insurance money to come through, but is also afraid of being robbed again.
"I am going to have to spend an awful lot of money to secure my tanks and we will be doing that to get back into business again, but at the minute, there's no point in filling up the tanks for them to come back and empty (them).
"To go and put another £10,000 worth of diesel in, will it be there tomorrow?"
Mr McCormick urged members of the public to be vigilant.
"If you see something unusual - like a heating oil tanker in a garage forecourt in the middle of the night or a petrol tanker or any sort of a large vehicle and the garage is closed - ask yourself why it's there," he said.
In a statement, police in north Down said they were currently investigating a number of commercial and domestic burglaries in the Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn area.
"The targeting of a filling station is a rare occurrence and not unique. Normally domestic oil tanks are targeted." they added.
"The PSNI work with neighbourhood watch projects in the Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn areas and the community is actively encouraged to contact police to report suspicious activity at all times of day.
"To steal such a considerable amount of oil would require a large vehicle and we would appeal to anyone who was in the Crawfordsburn area and noticed a vehicle like this to contact police in north Down."