Joint diesel theft op...

Police vehicle check operation Blyth services station.  Pictured is HM Revenue and Customs checking for illegal diesel  (w121018-4f)
Police vehicle check operation Blyth services station. Pictured is HM Revenue and Customs checking for illegal diesel (w121018-4f)

NOTTS and South Yorkshire Police joined forces to clamp down on diesel thefts in a major operation at Blyth.

Officers held a multi-agency checkpoint at Blyth Services off the A1 on Thursday 18th October, as part of Operation Cargo.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), HM Revenue and Customs and Bassetlaw Council’s Environmental Health team were also on hand to check vehicles.

Out of 35 vehicles stopped at the checkpoint for full assessment during the operation, 22 were found to have issues.

Fixed penalty notices or fines were issued to six motorists while eight people received a prohibition notice - where a vehicle is found to be defective and they have to rectify the problem before it can be driven again.

Sgt John Hewitt, who is leading the operation, said nearly 40,000 vehicles travel along the A1 in Notts each day.

“It is a major commuter and business route through the county and these criminals take advantage of that,” he said.

“The section in Notts is also quite remote and vehicles parked up on the A57 feeder road are also a target for thieves - but we are on to them.”

Since January 2012, Notts Police has seen 149 reports of theft of and attempted theft of fuel, with 37 per cent of those being in the vicinity of the A1.

A common method used by thieves is to hide various containers in or behind edges at lay-bys, with the intention of returning late at night to steal diesel from parked vehicles as their drivers sleep.

They then hide the full containers and return the following day to pick them up.

Sgt Hewitt urged anyone to inform the police immediately about any suspicious activity in lay-bys and around vehicles parked in lay-bys.

“Those convicted of diesel theft not only face jail but we will do everything within our means to take away their modes of transport, by disqualifying them from driving and seizing the vehicles they use to commit crime,” he said.

“Fuel is extremely flammable and the incorrect storage of it, whether in unsuitable containers or in an unventilated space, can be a major fire hazard and risks serious injury to those in the vicinity.”

Anyone with any information about diesel theft or who has received an unsolicited approach to buy fuel, should call Notts Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.