THIEVES who fill up and drive off from service stations are the target of a new scheme launched by police in Nelson and Colne.
Police have joined forces with the British Oil Security Syndicate and independent retailers to introduce Forecourt Watch across the area.
The scheme creates a closer link between police, BOSS and retail staff to increase awareness, prevention and the reporting and recording of incidents.
The Forecourt Watch scheme, which is being rolled out to every service station in the towns, is the latest addition to more than 70 schemes already operating throughout the UK.
Nelson Sgt Chris Valentine said: “This scheme has successfully helped to reduce crime and bring offenders to justice in other areas of Lancashire.
“We recognise the theft of fuel has a significant impact on consumers, retailers and the police and we are committed to working with other agencies to tackle this sort of crime.
“We hope Forecourt Watch will lead to positive changes in the way we manage forecourt crime by reducing fuel theft, increasing convictions and keeping forecourts as safe as possible for both staff and customers.”
High visibility stickers and posters will be displayed on the forecourt to raise awareness among customers and potential thieves that Forecourt Watch is in operation and that making off without payment is a criminal offence.
Service stations registered with the scheme will also benefit from sharing information with police and each other on suspects, vehicles and known offenders to maximise disruption and detection of offences.
As police launch the scheme, they have released images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the theft of fuel.
The two men are suspected to have been involved with filling up a silver Honda Civic with petrol on Tuesday, May 10th at Colne Service Station on Burnley Road before driving off without paying.
Sgt Valentine added: “I would urge anyone who thinks they recognise these men to contact us and help us to progress our investigation.”
Anyone with information or concerns about service station drive-offs can contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.