Alison Balding, 14 October 2015

AT LEAST one person a day is driving away from bowsers in St Marys and Mt Druitt without paying for petrol, according to the latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics.

In January, there were 28 reported petrol thefts in Mt Druitt, up from 21 at the same time last year.

In St Marys, 30 bowser thefts were reported in January, slightly higher than 12 months prior (29).

By June, both commands received 39 reports of petrol theft for the month.

However, Suman Gandla, who took ownership of the United Petroleum service station at Lethbridge Park two weeks ago, said the number of daily petrol thefts was much higher for him.

In the time he has had the business, Mr Gandla said he has been left out of pocket more than $300.

In some cases, he has been left driver’s licences as surety from people who just never come back.

“There is definitely more than one drive-off a day,” Mr Gandla said.

“Every day I see people put petrol in, look around to see no one is watching and then drive off.

“Others come in and pretend to try and pay, and leave their licence saying they’ll be back with money — I have so many licences here.”

He said he followed his gut before unlocking pumps.

“The petrol we sell, we have to pay for from United, it comes from our pocket,” Mr Gandla said. “If I think someone looks suspicious I don’t give authorisation, they can leave or prepay.”

Mt Druitt police crime manager Detective Inspector David Goddard said police work closely with service station operators to catch offenders.

“Regardless of the reason, offenders will be charged with stealing offences,” he said.

Extracted in full from the Daily Telegraph.