May 27, 2022 6.00 pm

Council hatches plan to stop repeat of binman’s £42k fuel theft

Anti-syphoning devices and CCTV cameras have been installed

By Local Democracy Reporter

South Kesteven District Council has taken steps to make fuel theft much more difficult after a binman admitted to stealing more than £42,000 of diesel.

Leonard Frankish, 65, was given an eight month suspended sentence after it was discovered he was stealing fuel from the bin lorry he drove.

The theft was uncovered after a whistleblower raised concerns Frankish, of Princess Drive, Grantham, was syphoning it from the fuel tank and selling it on for profit.

The council passed the information along to police, who launched their own investigation and ultimately charged him.

Frankish was sentenced to eight months, suspended for 18 months, plus 200 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay back the cost of the fuel.

Now the trial is over, South Kesteven District Council has confirmed what safeguards have been put in place to stop it from happening again.

Employees will have restricted access to fuel based on how often their vehicles are expected to need refuelling. Any council vehicles with unusual miles-per-gallon will be flagged.

All SKDC council vehicles now have much tighter security. | Photo: Stock image from North East Lincolnshire Council

Anti-syphoning devices have been fitted to all vehicles, and additional CCTV cameras have been installed to cover fuel tanks.

Spot checks will also be carried out to make sure readings are correct.

And council employees have been reminded the council has zero tolerance to fraud.

The theft is addressed in the Counter Fraud Annual Report, which will go before the council’s Governance and Audit Committee next month.

“At the proceeds of crime hearing at Lincoln Crown Court in March 2022, it was stated that the defendant made a total benefit of £42,352.35 from his criminal activity. The figure was calculated on the legitimate market value of the stolen fuel plus inflation,” the report says.

“The amount of £42,362.35 was therefore awarded as compensation to the council to be paid within three months (by June 30, 2022).”