Fuel has become a precious commodity, and unscrupulous characters will seemingly leave no stone unturned to steal someone else’s petrol, says Wahl Bartmann, the chief executive officer of the Fidelity Services Group.
Bartmann said that with the price of petrol continuing to rise, there have been several incidents across South Africa in recent weeks involving attempts to steal fuel by drilling into a petrol tank or siphoning it out of the tank.
However, drivers and car owners can make basic changes to their behaviour to try and limit the chance of falling victim to this new trend, Bartmann said.
“If you are fortunate enough to have access to your own off-street or secure parking, you should always make use of it and the protection it offers. Putting your car out of sight or behind a locked door can make it less attractive to any would-be fuel thief,” Bartmann said.
He added that motorists should make sure they have the necessary sensors to pick up unauthorised movements in a garage or parking lot, and should check all gates and locks.
In cases where a car owner has to park on the street or in a public garage, they should try and park as close to an area where there is lighting and regular foot traffic, said Bartmann.
“If you use the street, we suggest you try and park as close to your home as possible. You can also park in such a way that your fuel cap is pointed into the street and not hidden from view. We also advise against leaving your car standing in one spot for an extended period.”
Bartmann said motorists should also speak to their armed response company to see what protective measures they can recommend, and are advised not to leave any valuable goods in the car.
“If you see anyone loitering around parked cars in your street, please alert your security company or the police,” said Bartmann. “We can make an enormous difference to the crime situation in South Africa by paying attention to what happens around us and speaking up when anything seems out of place.”
The uptick in fuel theft comes as the Department of Energy announced record price increases in both diesel and petrol for July.
From 6 July, the price of petrol increased by R2.57 per litre taking the pump price up to a record R26.74 per litre (inland). Diesel, meanwhile, rose by R2.30 per litre, taking the wholesale price up to R25.53 per litre.