Motorists in Lincolnshire drove away from petrol stations in the county without paying for their fuel almost 500 times in just two years.
Fuel thefts are costing petrol station owners thousands of pounds each year and Lincolnshire Police say they are assisting businesses with their security arrangements to combat the offence.
Figures obtained by The Lincolnite through a Freedom of Information request show that in the year 2015 some 252 fuel thefts from petrol stations were reported – eight more than in the year previous.
The hotspot for fuel-thieving motorists appeared to be in North and South Kesteven, where 89 offences were reported last year.
In the Lincoln and West Lindsey districts, 75 offences were reported, in East Lindsey there were 41 and in the Boston and South Holland region, 47 people drove off without paying for their petrol or diesel.
Of the total reported in 2015, some 155 cases were resolved and the investigation closed with no suspect having been identified. Some 14 incidents are currently classed as ongoing.
Twenty one cases resulted in an offender being charged for the theft and other incidents were resolved with a restorative resolution or were deemed ‘of no further interest’.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said: “We investigate all of the reports we get where people have driven off without paying for their fuel. Quite often it’s an oversight and the matter can be resolved.
“Our crime prevention staff offer advice and visit our petrol stations to make sure where possible they have recording facilities and staff are trained to be alert to this offence.
“There are various ways of gathering evidence and where this is available we will always investigate the offence.
“People who do not pay for their fuel will be known to others, we would welcome any information to help us target offenders.”
The force encourages anyone with information relating to crime in the county to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.