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Local police have advised UK gas stations to modify their pumps to combat fuel theft.
Recently, gas stations in the state have been faced with rising cases of bilking, an act in which motorists drive off after gassing up without paying. Over the previous year, the number of bilking cases across the United Kingdom has risen to around 25,000. Incidents in some areas have even risen by 40%.
However, the police said they cannot investigate all cases of bilking involving amounts less than £50 of petrol because they are overextended and underfunded. Thus, the National Police Chief’s Council head of local policing suggested installing devices on gasoline station pumps to urge motorists to pay before their cars are fueled.
However, the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) raised some concerns about the suggestion. According to the organization, modifying the current pumps would cost around £20,000 per gas station. Additionally, requiring customers to pay right away could discourage them from entering convenience stores in gas stations. In the United Kingdom, motorists have to enter a gas station store to pay for their gas directly at the counter. Since around half of gas stations’ earnings comes from sales of other items in the store, fewer customers entering would mean a sharp dip in profit.
In response to the problem, an organization catering to local UK shops released guidelines to prevent bilking in gas stations. The guidelines, which contained tips for gas station staff, include asking all customers if they bought fuel and watching out for customers that wear hoods or caps to conceal their identities. The guidelines also recommended being more vigilant on days before payday, where fuel theft cases increase.