HUNT IS ON FOR PETROL THIEF

NEWTOWNABBEY police are on the hunt for a driver who has been involved in at least seven incidents of driving off without paying for fuel at local petrol stations.

In each of the seven incidents - dubbed bilking by the police - the driver used stolen number plates on a blue Renault Clio car to steal the fuel.

Newtownabbey detectives are also on the look out for another driver who may have been involved in similar incidents.

The driver of the black Ssanyong Rhodius is believed to have carried out four thefts in the Newtownabbey area.

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Despite police launching an appeal for information, they have refused to give out a description of the individuals concerned, CCTV images or indeed when or where the incidents occurred.

Nevertheless, if you can help, police can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.

Local petrol station owner, John Gordon, said drive offs were a concern for many retailers.

He said: “Thankfully there has not been too many at my garage, but we have had a few over the years.

“It is more of a problem at the larger forecourts were they have multiple pumps and a busy cashier might not realise there has been a theft until it is too late.

“There is plenty of CCTV cameras around, but most would use stolen number plates which makes them harder to track down.

“But it is becoming more common and petrol stations will have to start adopting a pay first policy to put an end to it.”

Anyone who believes they can assist the police investigations into these incidents is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.

Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their name they can contact the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.