It is very rare for HGV drivers to be victims of crimes while they are out on the road, since they are moving around so much. However, on those few occasions when they are a target, frequently it is for petrol theft. Sometimes the fuel inside of an HGV is financial more valuable than the actual cargo that the HGV is transporting and it is usually easier to access it, especially since an HGV may be left unattended on a rest stop. Leaving the vehicle on a break or stopping overnight at an unsecured spot always carries a small risk of a fuel thief accessing the fuel tank of the HGV and siphoning off its fuel, which leaves the driver to deal with the problem.
Why Steal Petrol?
The simple answer is because it is quite valuable. “Although oil prices rise and fall over time, fuel prices have continued to stay high on a consistent basis. That means it can be very lucrative to sell fuel in bulk on the black market” commented a spokesperson for HGV Training Cost. Since specialist fuel is used by HGVs, siphoning fuel from one can bring a higher price for the thief. However, it is dangerous to siphon fuel, for both the vehicle driver as well as the thief. If the driver doesn’t notice right away that the theft has taken place, they could end up damaging their vehicle or it could cause an explosion and fire.
How Is Petrol Stolen?
The most common method for siphoning fuel is to take a long tube and feed it from the fuel tank cap to the fuel tank. Then the thief holds up the tube and sucks on the other end of it until the fuel begins to flow out. Next, they spit a mouthful of fuel out and point the end of the tube into a container and let physics go to work. After they are done, they will lift up the tube to stop the flow and then put the fuel cap back on. Depending on the amount they want to steal the process can taken from 3 to 15 minutes to complete.
How Can I Prevent The Theft?
Fuel theft is becoming increasingly common, so it isn’t too surprising that over the years there have been several anti-theft solutions designed. Most of them are alarms, however, there is one very promising and new solution that Co-Op has snapped up. Earlier this year, the large group took the necessary steps for protecting its HGV fleet, through installing a new device that works to block access to a vehicle’s fuel. This device is referred to as the ‘impregnable-HF.’ The way it works is it locks off the fuel once it reaches the top of the fuel tank through utilising a floating lock valve that floats on the fuel’s surface. The device acts as a barrier between the fuel inside the tank and the opening of the tank, making it physically impossible to siphon or skim the fuel. In addition to prevent fuel theft, the device also prevents accidental overfilling and spillage, which also saves the company money.
You might also want to consider taking the following measures:
- Installing security cameras, lighting and fences in fuelling yards or vehicles. Due to the high density of HGV vehicles, this kind of place is an absolute goldmine for fuel thieves. That is why you want to make it nearly impossible or at least difficult for them to be able to break in without being noticed. These measures act as effective deterrents and will provide you with a secure place for leaving your fleet.
- While out on the road park defensively. When you leave your vehicle, even when going to the loo quickly, be sure to park in such a way that access to your fuel tank is restricted. You can achieve this by parking close to trees or walls. Just make sure that you don’t inconvenience other drivers in the area.
- Don’t ever leave your HGV unattended in an unsecured area, especially overnight. Be sure to lock your vehicle in a monitored car park or behind a gate. Don’t ever leave the vehicle unattended on the side of the road – that makes it very easy for fuel thieves to get to your petrol.
While out on the the road, the thoughts of HGV drivers are consumed completely by making sure they and everybody else on the road stays safe. Since it is so mentally draining to drive for long periods, HGV drivers frequently forget safety procedures when stopping for their rest breaks. If you make these small changes, it can save you a lot of stress and money and help to protect yourself against theft.