Police in North Lincolnshire are warning of a sudden increase in the number of fuel thefts in recent days.
So far this week there have been 14 reports – mostly from rural areas– with nine reaching the police within the last 24 hours.
All came from the Saxby All Saints and Horkstow area.
Officers are warning local people and businesses to be vigilant and to contact them or Crimestoppers if they see anything suspicious – or if they are approached to buy any fuel.
Last month, police said they believed an organised band of thieves was behind 14 diesel thefts mainly from lorries in Hull.
Rural inspector Brett Rutty said: “We have seen a sudden increase in the number of reported fuel thefts over the last week.
“An investigation is under way and it appears that the majority of vehicles have had their fuel taken in a similar way so we are currently looking into any other connections between the crimes.
“We are asking for members of public and also businesses to play their part by not only being vigilant but by also ensuring that if possible, vehicles are not left in easy to access locations when unattended.”
He added: “Investigations are under way in order to establish any patterns that may be developing around where the incidents have taken place and during what time frames along with how the crimes have been committed to find any common methods used by the thieves.
“Although it is too early to speculate who is responsible and if they are local or travelling criminals, we have seen a pattern develop overnight with all of the incidents occurring in the Saxby All Saints and Horkstow areas and common tactics employed in order to get the fuel from the vehicles.”
Thefts have also been reported on Bessemer Way, Scunthorpe; St Marys Lane, Barton; Flixborough and Queensway Industrial Estate in Scunthorpe.