Petrol stations are being urged to apply a blanket prepaid policy to prevent petrol thefts.

Greensborough highway patrol Senior Sergeant Peter Koger said forcing customers to pay for petrol before filling up would go a long way towards curbing the crime.

“Companies in the area need to get together and change the policy so you can’t get the petrol unless you’ve already paid for it,” he said.

“But they won’t because they’ll lose the sale from the person coming in and buying lollies.”

Sen-Sgt Koger’s suggestion follows the release of Victoria Police figures that show numberplate theft jumped more than 40 per cent in Banyule and Nillumbik during the past year.

The statistics show 41 numberplates were stolen during May, 12 more than the same period last year.

Acting detective Sergeant Dean Kamolins said thieves use stolen plates to remain undetected during petrol drive offs and ­burglaries.

“We’ve seen a rise in these type of offences and they’re happening in public places where there is a lot of traffic,” Acting Sgt Kamolins said.

“They’re then subsequently used in petrol drive offs.”

Prevent numberplate theft:

Motorists should consider using one-way screws to fix numberplates to their vehicles.

They can be screwed in with a normal screwdriver, but can only be removed with a special tool.

For an online list of retailers that stock one-way screws, visit the vacc website.

Extracted in full from the Herald Sun.