MOTORISTS who fill up and flee will be targeted in a fuel theft crackdown announced by the state government today.

Victoria Police and the Labor government have set their sights on petrol thieves who steal from service stations — a crime which costs retailers about $20 million per year.

Police Minister Lisa Neville will today launch the “We See You Too” campaign, delivered by Crime Stoppers Victoria.

The Andrews government will invest $95,000 into the campaign, which was developed in partnership with police, petrol station operators and industry associations.
It is set to run over the next four weeks at selected petrol stations across Victoria.
Petrol stations with high rates of fuel thefts will display anti-theft messages at the bowser and on digital displays in areas including Geelong, Wyndham, Werribee and Hume.

Ms Neville said the campaign would send a strong message to would-be thieves that “petrol theft is a crime that will be prosecuted”.

“We know that when fuel theft does occur its costly for operators and impacts their livelihood,” Ms Neville also said.

“Anyone caught stealing fuel now has a higher chance of being reported to Crime Stoppers and can face up to 10-years in jail.”

Following a policy overhaul earlier this year, police are now required to ­investigate every petrol drive- off — backing down on a controversial policy that allowed fuel thieves to run rampant.

In June Victoria Police quietly changed its 2013 policy which meant officers only had to get involved if the ­vehicle was stolen, had fake plates or was owned by a known criminal.

It also put the onus on servo operators to prove a crime was committed.

The change in policy saw a 20 per cent increase in reports of the crime in just a two-week period.

Extracted from Daily Telegraph

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