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

More forecourt fuel crime takes place in store than at the pump

More forecourt fuel crime takes place in store than at the pump

At BOSS we’ve had to change and evolve since we began working with fuel retailers 30 years ago. However the most dramatic change has taken place over the last 12 months and the way that forecourt firms operate may need to change again. New analysis from BOSS has revealed that the majority of forecourt fuel crime takes place after a motorist has entered a store.

We know from recent BOSS analysis that forecourt crime is costing fuel retailers around £60 million every year in lost revenue, it has doubled since 2010. The upward trend is reflected in the rise in the average value of each incident to more than £50 for the first time.

The Drive Off incident is no longer the biggest worry for forecourt operators because motorists claiming to have No Means of Payment (NMoP) now accounts for two thirds of all forecourt fuel crime.

Drive Off from the pump incidents have diminished to 13% of all fuel crime, or around £8 million. This means that the majority of incidents are taking place after a motorist has filled up and entered the store, either claiming to have no means of payment or just not paying for fuel when they get to the cashier. In-store incidents therefore cost forecourt operators approximately £48 million per annum.

It becomes even more important that forecourt operators record details of a motorist carefully, especially if those who forget to pay need to be chased and reminded. During busy periods should a person enters a kiosk and inform you they don’t have the means to pay, try to remain calm and courteous. In the majority of cases this type of incident is possibly a genuine mistake.

We’d strongly recommend that forecourt staff remain vigilant and on the lookout for suspicious behaviour. If something does not seem right double check and ask which vehicle they arrived in so you can check if any fuel has been used at that pump.  Simple questions can often reveal genuine mistakes or deliberate intent.

When faced with an incident you should carefully record the customer’s name, address, postcode and car registration number. As most people have a mobile phone ask for their mobile phone number and try it.  Then follow industry standard procedures, such as BOSS Payment Watch. This will allow us to recover monies lost should the motorist fail to return and pay for the fuel drawn.

During 2021 BOSS will be celebrating more than 30 years of campaigning to reduce forecourt crime and keep petrol stations safe and secure. Forecourt retailers have become an integral part of both the mainstream and convenience sectors. Margins on fuel are paper thin so when losses occur it can have an impact on the overall profitability. We must therefore re-double our efforts to recover losses where necessary and help protect the viability of forecourt operators.


Kevin Eastwood
Executive Director
BOSS – the British Oil Security Syndicate.


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