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15 March 2013, 11:27 | Updated: 15 March 2013, 11:31
Police are investigating a series of petrol thefts in Northamptonshire where thieves have drilled holes into parked cars' fuel tanks.
Northamptonshire Police have told Heart officers have received several reports of incidents across the county, in particular around the Corby area.
Sergeant Nigel Roberts, from Corby Town Safer Community Team, is asking anyone with any information about these crimes to contact police.
He said: “This type of incident causes a great deal of inconvenience and, while it usually results in only small amounts of fuel being stolen, the inherent costs of repair can be significantly high.
“I would urge everyone to be vigilant and if they see any suspicious activity, in particular around a vehicle, to report it immediately to the police.
“We would also like to talk to anyone who may have information about the people who are committing these crimes, or to anyone who has been offered fuel they think may have been stolen.
Northamptonshire Police have released the following simple steps to help prevent you from becoming a victim to this type of crime:
• Park your car in a locked garage if at all possible.
• Consider dusk to dawn security lighting around your property, in particular the driveway.
• Don't give thieves places to hide. Park your vehicle so you can easily see the side of the car where the fuel tank is located.
• Make sure your car is locked. Some modern vehicles have motion sensors that could sound if the vehicle is lifted – some offences have been committed using a jack to lift one side of the vehicle from the ground.
• Consider parking your vehicle with the fuel tank side as close to a physical barrier as possible. This will make it difficult for thieves to install a jack device to raise the vehicle from the ground.
• If you approach your vehicle and notice that it appears to be surrounded by a puddle of fluid, take sensible precautions as this may be spilt fuel. Do not smoke or expose yourself to a potential fire risk.
• If you see anything suspicious at all, call the police. The nature of this type of offence means that the thieves will be in possession of equipment to lift the vehicle, attack the fuel tank and remove the contents. Report anyone who appears to be in possession of such items.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or in an emergency on 999 – for example, if they think a crime is in progress. If they would like to report information anonymously, they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.