FUEL stations across the borough are signing up to a new initiative in a bid to cut thefts from forecourts.
So far 14 filling stations have joined Forecourt Watch, a crime fighting scheme operated by the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS), which alerts police and informs customers the site is a scheme member.
North Tyneside is the first in the Northumbria Police area to adopt the scheme.
Prominent police and BOSS branded signage has been placed in participating garages and on fuel pumps.
Stickers to remind people to make sure they have the means to pay before filling up are also being put in place.
Between January 2011 and the end of February this year, there were 41 thefts of fuel reported to police by garage forecourts in North Tyneside after motorists drove off without paying.
Chief Inspector Steve Readdie, of North Tyneside area command, said: “As the price continues to go up, stealing fuel becomes increasingly attractive and is hitting garages.
“By joining the Forecourt Watch scheme we aim to reduce this type of theft.
“Garage staff are supporting this initiative by taking details of vehicles which drive off without paying and swiftly passing the information to police so we can locate them.
“Motorists should be reassured by the posters that staff are working with police to reduce these thefts.”
Dave Young, BOSS regional co-ordinator for the north east, said: “We’re pleased to be launching a new partnership with Northumbria Police.
“Drive-off incidents cost the UK oil industry approximately £15m last year.
“By building successful partnerships with police, petrol retailers and other agencies, we are able to deter and prevent crime on service station forecourts as well as bringing offenders to justice.
“Our aim is to maintain fuel stations as a safe environment for customers and staff, targeting those people who drive off without paying for their fuel and use service stations as a route to commit more serious crimes.”
David Richardson, Shell petrol station manager for the north east, said: “Shell are pleased to be part of the Forecourt Watch scheme which will help us to reduce the theft of fuel from our forecourts.”
Forecourts who join the scheme also share information about rogue vehicles who have taken fuel without paying, to alert other members.
Details of vehicle registrations are then given to police, so further action can be taken.