The constant movement while on the roads makes HGV driver rare victims of road related crimes. However, petrol theft is one of the few exceptions when it comes to falling victim of these crimes. The HGV carries two vital things of high value, the cargo and the fuel needed for transit. Of the two, the fuel is the easiest to access more so during rest stops when the HVG is left unattended. “Fuel theft has been an issue with some substantial risk when the vehicle is left overnight in an unsecured spot or even during short stopovers where the driver rushes to the lavatory” claims a spokesperson for HGV Training Centre. That is when the thieves seize the opportunity and siphon off the fuel. The drivers are then left to face the repercussions.
Why Steal a Vehicles’ Fuel?
Fuel is a valuable commodity, hence why some see it fit to steal it when such an opportunity presents itself. Oil prices will rise and fall, but they tend to stay on the high side of things and this make them a profitable item even when resold in the black market. HGVs use special fuel and thus the stolen fuel will fetch a higher price in the black market. Siphoning the fuel is a dangerous practice for both the thief and the HGV’s driver. If the theft is not noted as it takes place, even if noticed, the danger of fire and explosion are very high.
How Is It Done?
Thieves siphon the fuel using the typical method of feeding a tube into the fuel tank through the cap and then hold up the tube while sucking on the other end until the fuel start to flow out of the tank. They will have a mouthful of fuel which they will quickly spit out and immediately push the other end of the tube into an empty container. It is a simple strategy that uses physics (the force of gravity). When their containers are full, they lift up the tube causing the flow of fuel to stop and then replace the tank’s cap. Fuel thieves can steal from HGVs leaving the tank almost empty or taking as much as they can. The processes can take a short period of time, anywhere between 3 and 15 minutes.
How Can I Prevent Theft?
The theft of fuel has become rampant and this is most probably the reason for the increase of anti-theft solutions that have been noted over the recent years. Most of the solutions are in the form of alarms. Co-Op has, however, done one better by introducing a nifty device to its fleet of HGVs. The device is a protective measure that blocks access to the vehicle’s fuel once the tanks are filled. The gadgets lock off the fuel tank once the tanks are filled to the top and are activated by a floating lock valve that rests floats on the surface of the fuel. The device acts as a barrier between the fuel inside the tank and the tank’s opening making it hard to siphon or skim the fuel. The device also prevents overfilling and accidental spillages thus it saves money for the company.
You Can Also Consider:
- Install good lighting, security cameras and fence your vehicle’s fuelling yards. Fuelling yards tend to have many vehicles at any given time that this makes them an irresistible treasure for fuel thieves. So, do your best to make it both challenging and impossible for the thieves to gain access without being seen. The measures will be a deterrent that also increases the security of the yard and well as your fleet of vehicles.
- Always park the car defensively when on the road even to rush off for a short or long call. Ensure the vehicle is parked in a restrictive manner that minimises unwanted access to the fuel tank. Consider parking the car close to big trees or walls but without causing any conveniences to other road users.
- Always ensure your HGV is not left unattended especially when parked in unsecured areas overnight. Opt to leave it in a place where it is locked away behind a gate or in a parking space that has constant surveillance. Conversely, do not leave the HGV unattended on the side of the road; for the fuel thief it will be like taking candy from a baby.
Most HGV drivers are often consumed by the thoughts of the safety of everyone on the road. The long drives tend to be mentally draining and cause the drivers to forget even the basic safety procedures when they take rest stops. By implementing the precautions mentioned above, you will not only save money and avoid stress but also protect your fleet against fuel theft.
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