Fairfield service stations are loosing thousands of dollars as drivers go to extreme measures to pilfer petrol.
Data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals more than 320 fail-to-pay offences in Fairfield City last year. In the first quarter of 2019, there were 65 reported cases of fuel theft in the region.
Speedway operations manager Jamil El-Khoury said the number of incidents reported to police was just the tip of the iceberg, with operators frustrated with low prosecution rates.
Fed up with fuel thieves, Mr El-Khoury has banded together with service station operators and created name and shame Facebook page, Servo Watch, for alleged offenders.
“We want to push for more powers for police in terms of new laws. The police don’t take too much action because it is becoming a nuisance for them and they tend to put it under the rug or address very few,” Mr El-Khoury said.
“The page was created by us because we are frustrated and want to put more awareness out there, name and shame and get more exposure.
“Less than 10 per cent of incidents we’re seeing end up in court. Unless you have a serial offender, they are not going to be charged.”
He said fuel theft did not discriminate.
“There’s no demographic or age bracket or spectrum for it anymore,” he said.
NRMA spokeswoman Bridget Ahern said independent retailers and franchisees were hardest hit.
“Not paying for your fuel is a crime and the penalties are harsh. Many service stations have now installed number plate scanning technology, so your chances of getting caught are high,” Ms Ahern said.
Since 2013, service station operators have been required to report fuel drive-offs to police online to eliminate the need for officers to attend every reported incident.
Fraud offences, including fuel theft, carry up to 10 years in jail.
FUEL THEFT OFFENCES IN FAIRFIELD LGA 2018 (REPORTED)