Police warn of rising diesel thefts from construction sites as prices soar


North Wales Police have issued a warning about a rising trend in diesel thefts from construction sites in the area.

The force attributed the rise in prices at the pump to increased on-site theft. Gasoline and diesel prices hit a record high this week despite lower wholesale prices. On Sunday, the average cost of petrol, according to data firm Experian Catalist, was 163.5p, while diesel rose to 173.4p.

A North Wales Police spokesperson said: ‘During this exacerbated period of oil and fuel price inflation, we are seeing an increase in the theft of fuel oil and diesel from farms and construction sites in North Wales. Thieves can siphon fuel from tanks in minutes and tanks that are not properly protected are very easy targets.

Sergeant Liam Jones of North Wales Police Rural Crime Team added: ‘It’s not a massive increase so far. However, we have seen, since the beginning of the year, six cases of thefts from fuel containers and fuel tanks, whether in our own farmyards or on construction sites.

Police issued the warning along with advice to protect venues from theft, including tank alarms, installing CCTV and floodlight coverage.

Rachel Peers, sustainable site safety specialist at construction site safety provider Clearway, said there had been an increase in diesel thefts at sites across the country since Christmas last year.

Peers said the most common style of theft was breaking into a site in a van with tanks to empty diesel tanks out of hours.

To avoid this, Peers said construction site customers are cutting out diesel wherever possible. She added: “They [contractors] reduce the use of diesel wherever possible, by removing generators and using solar-powered options. We actually provide solar powered CCTV towers which means they don’t need diesel generators. »

The increase in thefts comes as the construction industry moves closer to April 1, 2022, when the red diesel rebate is due to end. Red diesel is cheaper than on-road fuel due to a 46.81p per liter discount. Contractors said the impact on businesses would be colossal and worsen material and labor cost inflation.

Earlier this week, in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, 15 construction industry bodies called for the rebate to be postponed for a year.

The government has argued that the hit to the industry will not outweigh the benefits that would come from switching to more sustainable fuel sources.

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