Victim of fuel theft faced £6,000 bill

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A GARAGE owner who lost £25,000 of fuel to thieves says he feels “let down by the system” after being forced to pay £6,000 to have it disposed of.

Malcolm Blake who runs the petrol station at Long Riston, East Yorkshire, was left footing the bill when thieves broke in during the early hours last month and stole £25,000 of fuel which was transferred to a lorry, recovered after a police chase.

As well as having to replace the fuel, and carry out thousands of pounds worth of repairs, after the thieves smashed CCTV cameras, cut a cable and removed pipework to siphon off the fuel, he also had to hand over £6,000 to a private company to remove and dispose of the stolen diesel.

Mr Blake said: “The police said they couldn’t take the vehicles for tests without the fuel being removed because it was unsafe.

“I can’t blame the police. It’s the system that has let me down. I am the innocent one but I am the one who has ended up footing the bill.”

Mr Blake is insured, but says as well as the immediate costs - which is “hammering” his cash-flow - next year he will face hikes in premiums.

Meanwhile two suspects, a 44-year-old man from Manchester and a 20-year-old Doncaster man remain on police bail.

A pursuit began after police saw two lorries being driven in tandem on the M62 near Goole on August 18, which refused signals to stop. The police helicopter joined the chase and after a stinger was deployed the first lorry was abandoned.

Its driver was arrested as he fled. The second driver was arrested when a stinger stopped his vehicle in its tracks.

Both lorries had been fitted with specially-adapted floors and pumping equipment.

Humberside Police spokeswoman Gemma Bell said they hoped Mr Blake would eventually be reimbursed: “The diesel was identified as belonging to the complainant and therefore he was made aware and invited to collect the property. Unfortunately because of the nature of the property collecting it has resulted in an expense to Mr Blake. We have explained the process to Mr Blake and that we will be seeking compensation for him to help cover the costs through the courts.”