Pre-pay makes dent in thefts

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

Petrol com­pa­nies are crack­ing down on drive-off thefts by bring­ing in new se­cu­rity mea­sures.

Auck­land ser­vice sta­tions are re­port­ing more thefts since petrol prices be­gan ris­ing.

BP Land­scape Rd man­ager San­jay Naicker says the sta­tion has changed its pumps to pre-pay, which has helped curb thefts.

“It was hap­pen­ing quite a lot. One time it was three times in a week. It’s all right now.”

He says peo­ple were driv­ing off with large amounts of fuel up to $90 worth.

Al­though they re­ported the thefts to the po­lice, it was hard to get the money back be­cause some cars had stolen num­ber plates.

The ser­vice sta­tion is only open un­til 9pm, which Mr Naicker says is also an ad­van­tage in stop­ping late night drive-offs.

At Cal­tex Blockhouse Bay, man­ager Kirti Ish­var­lal says staff serv­ing cus­tomers their petrol helps pre­vent thefts.

They have about two drive-offs a week, usu­ally mo­torists who have filled up their tanks.

The pumps are switched to pre-pay at night and on week­ends.

Stephen Sadiq, man­ager of Shell Royal Oak, says they some­times get six or seven petrol thefts a week.

The sta­tion has not switched to pre-pay be­cause many cus­tomers don’t like it, he says. He says thefts are ei­ther re­ported di­rectly to po­lice or to Shell head of­fice.

Chevron New Zealand, which mar­kets the Cal­tex brand, is train­ing fore­court staff to be more vig­i­lant and has rolled out more se­cu­rity mea­sures.

Spokes­woman Sharon Buck­land wouldn’t give de­tails, but says ur­ban ar­eas and places with lots of boy rac­ers are more likely to have drive-off thefts.

Some sta­tions are owned by in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers, who lose out badly.

She says thieves who ra­tio­nalise their be­hav­iour by think­ing they are steal­ing from big com­pa­nies are ac­tu­ally putting lo­cal busi­nesses at risk.

“The re­tailer has al­ready bought that petrol from us. If they only make maybe 4c a litre and some­one steals $100 of fuel, they have to pump a lot of gas to get back to square one.”

BP Oil com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Diana Stretch says drive-off thefts vary be­tween ar­eas.

The sta­tion work­ers have to au­tho­rise the pumps man­u­ally when cus­tomers pull up, which al­lows ve­hi­cles and li­cence plates to be recorded by the se­cu­rity sys­tem.

If a car without li­cence plates pulls up, staff can get the cus­tomer to pay for their fuel be­fore switch­ing on the pump.

Both com­pa­nies gen­er­ally use third party com­pa­nies to fol­low up on thefts.

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