People are driving off from Tweed service stations without paying.
People are driving off from Tweed service stations without paying. Anthony Reginato

Fuel drive-offs on the rise

TWEED service stations are noticing an increase in drive-offs and petrol theft as prices continue to climb.

Despite expensive surveillance equipment and the recording of suspicious number plates, petrol thefts remain a problem for Tweed fuel retailers.

Businesses are becoming increasingly cautious, with some jotting down all number plates of cars fuelling up and also equipping their employees with binoculars to improve forecourt visibility and allow proper recognition of potential drive offs.

Police have established a fax reporting line for petrol theft in an attempt to conserve time and resources.

One Tweed service station employee said part of the problem was that offenders were aware that companies would not prosecute once a payment was attempted.

"They know they won't be caught, so the drive-offs will unfortunately continue."

Heather Cullen has worked many shifts behind the counter at petrol stations and thinks some motorists are genuinely struggling to survive, while others are just annoyed at high prices

"The more the price rises, the more people struggle with everyday living. They'd rather have the extra $20 for food for their families."

"Drive-offs used to be happen once a week or so but once the prices rise, so do the drive-offs," she said.

Fake or altered number plates are also an issue, with many thefts occurring in broad daylight

Tweed local and company driver Jesse Lewis said he wasn't surprised at the news and felt like he was being ripped off constantly at the pump.

"In a way I understand why they're doing it, they see it as a victimless crime, a way to get back at the fuel companies," he said.

"I'd sure like a free tank of fuel, but at the end of the day it's just wrong to steal, no matter how you cut it."



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