The Q4 2022 Forecourt Crime Index from BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate, has revealed that while numbers of incident reports declined the amount of fuel taken rose significantly. Analysis of Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay reports found that the average number of litres lost per incident leapt by 90.4% when compared to Q3 2022.
During the three months to 31 December 2022 (Q4 2022) the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index recorded a fall of 0.6% to 242.6 (244.1: Q3 2022), indicating a minimal change in the level of unpaid fuel incidents. The Index collates reports of No Means of Payment (NMoP) and Drive- Off-Failure-to-Pay incidents made to Payment Watch, the specialist forecourt fuel loss recovery service operated by BOSS.
The Q4 2022 survey showed that the number of litres taken for Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay incidents averaged 57.9 litres, a rise of 90.4% (29.7 litres: Q3 2022). The average litres drawn in an NMoP incident increased 5.6% to 43.2 litres (40.7: Q3: 2022).
The increase in the amount of fuel taken occurred at a time when the cost of fuel fell to an average 160.9 pence per litre (ppl) for unleaded fuel (175.8 ppl: Q3 2022).
NMoP incidents reported to BOSS during Q4 2022 declined by 5.7%, however, the volume of Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay incidents grew 8.4% during Q4 2022.
The average number of incidents per site was 25 (24.8: Q3 2022). NMoP incidents accounted for 62% of all reports and the cost of each incident averaged £80.92 (£78.37: Q3 2022), while the average cost of a Drive-Off-Failure-to-Pay incident increased to £57.94 per incident (£56.63: Q3 2022).
As a result of the latest Forecourt Crime Index, BOSS estimate that the average annual losses per forecourt outlet increased 16.7% to £8,199.00 (Q3 2022: £7,026.67).
Claire Nichol, the executive director at BOSS, said: “Incidents of unpaid fuel have continued at an unacceptably high level. While the number of incident reports has fallen, motorists are taking more fuel. Sadly, the overall trend is upwards, the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index ended 2022 28.5% higher than in 2021.
“In the majority of cases, unpaid incidents are a genuine mistake. However, we know that some forecourts are targeted by motorists who deliberately take fuel without paying for it. Forecourts are at greater risk during peak periods when forecourt staff are under great pressure.
“When incidents do occur, we urge forecourts to carefully record vehicle and customer information for each unpaid fuel incident. This means that if a motorist does not return to make a payment, we can chase those who either forget to pay or deliberately evade payment.”
Forecourt crime reduction guides that help forecourt retailers reduce incidents and keep forecourts safe places to work and shop are available from BOSS.