Petrol thieves ‘burn’ East Dunbartonshire garage

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CUSTOMERS have been asked to pay for petrol before filling up their cars . . . after a spate of fuel thefts.

Gillespie’s of Lenzie’s BP garage, on the corner of Lindsaybeg Road, has been targeted by criminals who use the back pumps at the garage to fill up their vehicles with fuel then drive off without paying.

When staff check license plate numbers with police, they have all been registered to other vehicles.

The garage now has a sign at the entrance after 6.30pm notifying all drivers that they must pre-pay before putting fuel in their cars.

Garage owner Ian Gillespie said: “We’ve had five runners in the past two weeks.

“The amounts range from £65 to around £100, you’re talking about a loss of about £400 in total.”

Ian confirmed the incidents are only happening at the Lindsaybeg Road filling station. He said: “It’s an easy getaway for them. Our other garage, opposite Lenzie Primary School, is too congested.

“I have seven cameras in the forecourt, but as soon as they drive off round the corner they change the number plates. I’m telling the police it’s a silver BMW or a black Range Rover and they’re telling me the plates are registered to a blue Rover or a white Ford.

He added: “Most customers accept what we are trying to do by asking them to pay beforehand.”

Chief Inspector Brian McInulty, based at Kirkintilloch Police Station, said: “We have received a number of reports of thefts of petrol, or ‘drive offs’ over the past few months in the East Dunbartonshire area.

“The culprits often use false vehicle registration plates.Our officers are speaking with petrol station staff and providing crime prevention advice. We are also carrying out patrols to catch those responsible.

“I recently met with the Scottish Business Crime Centre and raised this issue.

“It appears it is not isolated to this area and work is ongoing to come up with a technological solution to this crime.”

Anyone with information about the thefts can contact their local police office or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”