Fuel Thieves Warned To Put A Cap On It!
Airedale and North Bradford Police are sending out a warning after a man who converted two vehicles to carry large amounts of stolen fuel was jailed for eight months.
Ryan John-Lewis, 28, of Buttershaw, pleaded guilty to two counts of making off without payment when he appeared before Bradford Crown Court on Monday 11 February.
The Vehicle Crime Team in Keighley, which deals specifically with incidents of fuel theft, launched Operation Kerryhill after John-Lewis appeared on CCTV taking fuel from petrol stations without payment.
The six-month investigation led to John-Lewis's arrest at his home, where detectives discovered that he had fitted large containers, capable of carrying around 1,000 gallons in fuel, into a Ford Transit van and a Ford Focus.
PC Dennis McCoy from Airedale and North Bradford CID, said John-Lewis had been seen taking fuel from petrol stations across West Yorkshire.
"He would travel from one petrol station to another, filling up the vehicles with £130 (the most that can be taken from a fuel pump) at a time.
"Making off from petrol stations without payment for fuel is a serious offence and this sentence sends out a message that if you steal fuel, we will catch you and you will very likely go to jail."
Detective Sergeant John Wolstencroft, who leads the team, said that detectives had worked closely with numerous petrol stations and garages across the force area, as well as Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) officers in the process of the investigation.
He said that the team had also held awareness days for the fitting of anti-theft number plate screws, as fuel thieves were often known to use stolen number plates to make their vehicles harder to trace.
He also appealed to the public to play their part in bringing fuel thieves to the attention of the police.
"If you suspect anyone of stealing fuel from petrol stations, please contact the team on 101 or you can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."