Staff at crate rental company Pluscrates’ headquarters in Wembley returned to work after the Christmas break to find six of their LDV 7.5 tonne delivery vans had been robbed of their diesel while parked in the company’s yard. Despite the vans having locked filler caps and being parked nose-to-tail to make access difficult, the thieves got away with around 400 litres of fuel leaving the tanks completely dry and the vans unable to be moved.
However, the cost of the stolen diesel was relatively small compared with the damage caused to the vans’ fuel systems. After crawling underneath to reach the tanks, the thieves clumsily ripped out the fuel level sender units to get to the fuel, damaging them beyond use and causing debris to fall inside. In all, the theft cost the company around £4,000, almost ten times the value of the diesel stolen.
"This wasn’t a casual theft, these people must have been very well equipped and had a bowser or something to carry the fuel away," said John Mitchell, Pluscrates’ Managing Director. "We’ve had diesel thefts before although nothing on this scale; but I guess with fuel prices at a record high it’s to be expected."
Being so soon after Christmas the incident did not affect Pluscrates’ operations and there was no disruption to service. John was full of praise for the engineers at LDV. "The people at LDV were excellent and fixed all the vans on site within 48 hours, they did a superb job."
So far no one has been apprehended although police did take a statement over the telephone and are hoping to view footage from neighbouring CCTV cameras in the hope of getting a registration number.
Be warned, diesel theft is on the increase – take extra care.