England's White Dragon

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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Cameron’s British Governments Fuel crime

Cameron’s British Governments Fuel crime rises as prices hit
an all-time high

Fuel crime is becoming a multi-million pound business as
petrol and diesel costs rise to more than £6.52 per gallon (£1.42 a litre),
haulage companies say, and this British government sits back on its all
expenses paid on us the English tax payers and dose nothing to control the day
light robbery at the pumps, with some garages putting up their prices by the
hours when its rush hours, something got to be done to get fuel back down to £1
per litre and cap the garages from putting it up its killing us.

Vehicles in lay-bays and depots are increasingly being
targeted by thieves who siphon the fuel to sell on.

But despite the financial strain, some lorry drivers do not
report thefts because they feel police do not take it seriously enough.

Police deny this saying they are working hard to combat the

"At one time we would have been concerned that if
someone attacked the lorry they'd be looking to see what the cargo was,"
said Dennis Davenport, UK manager of haulage firm HMT.

"These days with a vehicle with 1000 litres of fuel
you're talking about a pump value of £1,350. It's instantly useable and

"The fuel you carry is now more valuable than the

During a recent break-in at Heysham Docks, Lancashire, one
of the company's Lorries had its fuel tank emptied by thieves using relatively
simple tools.

"They broke open the lock on the tank, siphoned the
fuel into drums and carted it away. There were about five of them and it took
over an hour to drain one tank.

"We think the siphoning device was battery powered and
they can be purchased from army surplus stores for minimal cost."

The firm estimates similar thefts have cost the company more
than £10,000 over the last 12 months alone.

It is a problem impacting on companies across the industry,
with hauliers reporting thefts on a daily basis.

Chrys Rampley, security manager for the Road Haulage
Association (RHA) said fuel was being taken from Lorries parked up in lay-bys
and depots despite companies investing in CCTV and security to protect the

She said: "There are thieves out there who are
determined, sitting and waiting outside secure depots for the right moment to
siphon the fuel. A whole fleet of 10-15 vehicles can have their tanks emptied
in one night - that is a lot of fuel."

The RHA conducted a survey of its 6,000 members on behalf of
5 live Investigates. Of the 150 who replied, almost two-thirds reported theft
of fuel in the last year.

The RHA represents around a quarter of the UK's heavy goods
vehicles. In some cases, companies have reported losing more than 3,000 litres
of diesel in one raid.

'Not interested'

According to Ms Rampley the loss of a full tank of fuel can
wipe out the profit margin on one job.

She says the situation is becoming so bad that the cost of fuel
theft - along with other financial problems - forced one firm out of business.

So far this year we have had 61 thefts reported to us and
many of these refer to multiple vehicles being targeted in compounds. However
we do believe there are more crimes that go unreported. ”

But not all truckers who said they had suffered a fuel theft
reported it to the police.

A quarter of those who responded to the survey said they did
not. Many said it was a waste of time because they felt the police did not take
it seriously enough.

One claimed the police had ignored two incidents and were
"not interested in the slightest".

Another said the police "are not interested even when
you have CCTV".

That is a claim denied by the Association of Chief Police
Officers (Acpo) which says it is working hard with a number of agencies and
industry bodies to raise awareness of the issue and look at how best to prevent

A spokesman said: "Following a rise in the number of
fuel thefts, reported to Acpo's TruckPol police unit by colleagues, we have changed
the way that we record the crime.

"Previously we only recorded thefts in excess of 1,000
litres. This changed this year and we now record all thefts, no matter how
large or small.

"So far this year we have had 61 thefts reported to us
and many of these refer to multiple vehicles being targeted in compounds.
However, we do believe there are more crimes that go unreported.

"In an attempt to encourage reporting we have been
working with policing colleagues and, working with the Road Haulage Association,
have given out crime prevention advice to industry contacts."

Another way criminals are looking to make money on fuel is
by removing the coloured dye from "red" diesel.

The number of illegal plants being set up to wash red diesel
has gone up.

The red diesel which should only be used for boats,
agricultural and construction machinery off-road is taxed at a lower rate than
diesel for general use.

Criminal gangs set up plants to take the dye out of the red
diesel and pass it off as diesel for general use.

According to the latest figures from Her Majesty's Revenue
and Customs (HMRC) the cost to the public purse of this type of crime is about
£800m a year.

In 2008-09 HMRC investigators closed down just six of these
conversion plants. In 2009-10, that figure rose to 20 and is expected to be
higher again this year.

There is also evidence that this kind of fraud is continuing
to spread from its traditional base in Northern Ireland - where it was often
associated with money laundering by paramilitary groups - to Britain.

Chancellor George Osborne is coming under pressure ahead of
next Wednesday's budget to reduce the fuel duty escalator, which is due to add
a further 5p a litre to the price of petrol and diesel from the start of next

But the on-going political turmoil in Libya and the Middle
East suggests that whatever action the government takes, the upward pressure on
fuel prices is likely to continue for some time yet - taking fuel crime upwards
with it.

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