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Police warn drivers to be wary of fuel poachers

 Published on: 2nd April 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThieves in Hemel Hempstead, who are using power-tools to drill victims’ petrol tanks for fuel, are putting the lives of themselves and their victims at risk, say police. The thefts, which have been predominantly carried out in the Boxmoor and Chauldon areas, began in August last year. To date, a total of 56 incidents have been recorded in 28 different roads across six beat areas, causing a total of £14,500 worth of damage to vehicles in the process. At least one car has been written off as a result. Authorities have now issued an urgent plea to the public for information and the charity Crime Stoppers is offering up £1,000 as a reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible. At police briefing, Detective Chief Inspector Glen Channer, expressed his concern at the sort of danger culprits are putting themselves in by stealing fuel in such a way. He said: “It’s very unsophisticated – the manner in which they are puncturing the tanks and most of the fuel get spilled on the road underneath the vehicle. “Some of the fuel tanks are punctured with an implement unknown – possibly a screwdriver and some are actually drilled with some kind of power tool. We’ve found drill bits at the scene of the offence.” Bob Jackson, Station Commander at Hemel Hempstead Fire Service, was present at the briefing and highlighted three main concerns the fire service has regarding the spate of thefts. He said: “The initial concern is the use of power tools. They can generate heat and produce sparks in conjunction with any sort of fuel. That then creates the potential for fire or even an explosion. “Secondly, the next morning there is a secondary risk for fire when the owner of the car starts the engine. And thirdly there is an environmental issue; the fuel spillages in the road.” As of yet the police have received no information, despite extra vehicle and foot patrols out during the night, with extra resources pooled from other departments within the constabulary. Anyone with information on the thefts is being urged to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. However, if you witness anyone crawling underneath a vehicle or acting suspiciously around a car in the area then dial 999. by Olly Douglas

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