A new website has been launched in a bid to ‘name and shame’ thieves filling up their cars with petrol and then driving off without paying.
The ‘drive-off epidemic’, as it is being called, averages out to more than 20 cases of petrol theft per day and costing service stations an estimated $50 million in lost revenue per year.
This has prompted the group called Servo Watch to startup, which aims to hold petrol thieves to account. The group posts videos of drivers who have allegedly stolen fuel, as a warning to others.
In a statement, the group said: “Servo Watch was born out of frustration of the little action taken by law enforcers and policymakers to prevent mass-theft happening daily”.
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) revealed the worst hotspots are Blacktown, Penrith, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland and Burwood.
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Acting Executive Director Jackie Fitzgerald said: “What we generally find is an increase in the prevalence of the offence does match quite well with an increase in petrol prices”.
Jeff Rogut from the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores said: “Every time someone steals petrol it goes to the bottom line of an independent operator and largely a franchisee”.
The lowest levels of petrol theft were in affluent suburbs like Hunters Hill, Woollahra and Mosman.