AS PETROL prices continue to rise across the state, police have sent out a stern warning to drivers who are filling up and driving off without paying for their fuel; expect to be charged and before the courts.

Crime Prevention Officer with Chifley Local Area Command, Sen Const Sue Rose, said there have been an increase in “fail to pay” offences, and offenders can expect to be charged.

She said with improvements in CCTV technology, service stations are able to provide clear images of offenders, their cars and registration plates.

Sen Const Rose put a warning on Chifley Police District’s Facebook page last week following a spike in offences.

“Chifley Police District has seen an increase in the volume of fail to pay for fuel at Service Stations across the District over the last month,” she wrote.

“Police wish to warn motorists that if you intentionally fail to pay for fuel, this is classified as a fraud. If a report is received from the service station police will investigate. If anyone is identified as intentionally failing to pay, they will be put before the Local Court to answer the charges.”

“My advice to everyone is don’t do it, because you will get caught.”

Sumit Wadhwa, from United petrol station in the central business district said people driving off and paying for fuel has been an ongoing problem.

“It’s been going on for ages, and it costs me, because the company still charge us for the fuel, they don’t know whether its a drive off or not, we still have to pay,” he said.

He said he didn’t think the issue was related to state wide petrol price increases, which motorists have experienced across New South Wales in the past six months.

“It’s always been a problem, not just now.”

Subsequently United petrol station, along with other service stations across the city have CCTV cameras covering all their fuel pumps.

He welcomed news police would prosecute offenders because it’s not fair the business is left to foot the bill of drivers who don’t pay for fuel.

He said he felt if their was a  significant fine for drivers who don’t pay, it could possibly act as a deterrent to drivers doing the wrong thing.

Extracted from Western Advocate