reducing forecourt crime Tackling drive-offs and No means of payment



Since 2019 (pre-pandemic) the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index, which monitors the volume of unpaid fuel incidents, has been 30% higher. At 259 the Index is now at its highest level since it was introduced in 2015 and if forecourt operators follow common warning signals and respond to suspicions they can prevent crime from occurring.  

While incidents of drivers filling up and then driving away immediately do occur, they are smaller than other unpaid fuel incidents. Two-thirds of incidents reported to BOSS from the Payment Watch debt recovery service are where motorists claim to have no means of payment (NMoP).

Common warning signals that a crime might be about to occur include: 

  • Driver still at the wheel; passenger filling up 
  • Open doors or open boot 
  • Number plates hidden or appear altered 
  • The lights of the vehicle are still switched on 
  • A vehicle parked facing away from the kiosk towards an exit 
  • Customer trying to hide behind their own or another vehicle when filling up. 

If something suspicious is happening on the forecourt then we’d suggest staff could either:  

  • If possible, make eye contact; this can be surprisingly effective if the person knows someone has seen them 
  • Use the Tannoy to make suspicious people aware you have noticed them on the forecourt. Ask them to check their engine is off if lights are on and close open doors 
  • Don’t be afraid to request pre-payment; go with your instinct. 

At all times ensure that your CCTV system is working correctly, and the image is clear. Also, retain CCTV images of DOFP or NMoP incidents as it may be needed as evidence at a later stage. 

Historical details can be found here

BOSS Payment Watch operates on around one-quarter of forecourts in the UK and has a recovery rate of 86% for NMoP and where vehicle information is correct it has a recovery rate of more than 90% of Drive Off Failure to Pay (DOFP) incidents. Payment Watch is fully compliant with GDPR legislation.

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