October 24 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, by Sam Blewett
Thursday, August 14, 2014
A police officer has proposed a cunning plan to stop the growing crime of number plate and petrol theft in Havering.
Pc Dave Bunn said that some garages are losing up to £5,000 a year in fuel theft and he is now trying to convince them to switch to pre-pay only pumps to make fuel harder to steal.
Thieves often steal number plates first so that they cannot be identified on CCTV and tracked down.
“If it’s all pre-payment then there’s no point in stealing the plates because you can’t steal the fuel and get away with it,” Pc Bunn said.
“Police are making a major crackdown on theft of fuel. Even if you forget to pay for fuel and drive off police will prosecute.”
Garages are yet to take up his proposal despite it being a simple upgrade on the pump software but Pc Bunn is working tirelessly to get them on board.
“It’s getting the garages to break the mould,” he said about reluctant British garages.
“They already do it in America, Canada and most of Europe.”
Some garages fear that they may lose out on impulse purchases when customers queue at the till, he said.
But he argues that if customers were asked to pre-pay at the tills rather than at the pumps, garages they would still get these purchases.
Earlier this month police visited the Tesco in Airfield Way, Hornchurch, to fit tamper-proof screws to 50 sets of number plates free of charge so that thieves could not remove them.
These latest drivers are part of an initiative to drive down motor vehicle crime which is the third highest type of crime in Havering, according to Metropolitan Police statistics.
There have been nearly 2,100 vehicle crimes over 12 months up until June this year.