Fuel thieves steal 30,000 litres of diesel from truck stop in £45,000 raid in dead of night
Fuel thieves have allegedly nicked a staggering 30,000 litres of diesel from a Hampshire service station in a nighttime raid amid the nationwide fuel crisis.
Dave O’Donnell, who runs Portsmouth Truck Stop in Farlington, claimed thieves stole £45,000 worth of diesel by draining his fuel tanks in the early hours on Saturday.
Mr O’Donnell told the BBC that the alleged theft was a ‘massive hit’ to his family-run business, which has been running for more than 30 years and offers lorry drivers a place to park, shower eat and refuel overnight.
The incident comes amid a nationwide fuel crisis, which has seen drivers forced to queue outside petrol stations for hours, while many stations have been left with dwindling supplies of fuel following mass panic buying.
Mr O’Donnell said CCTV footage, recorded at 12.45am, showed two lorries arriving at the truck stop at around midnight.
In the clip, a person appears to climb on top of one of the fuel tanks and feeds a pipe into it before allegedly pumping the diesel out.
Dave O’Donnell, who runs Portsmouth Truck Stop in Farlington, claimed thieves (pictured on CCTV) stole £45,000 worth of diesel by draining his fuel tanks in the early hours on Saturday
He claimed the footage showed one of the lorries exited the truck stop around an hour later, while the second vehicle left at around 2am.
The business owner claimed his two tankers of fuel, which have a meter in the office showing the amount of fuel left in each one, should have had a total of 43,000 litres in them.
But when he checked the reading on Monday, Mr O’Donnell claimed that there was just 13,000 litres left in the two tanks.
He claimed the alleged theft appeared to be a ‘professional job’, saying he will be forced to make an arrangement with his supplier to try and ‘survive’ ‘the hit’.
He told the BBC: ‘With everything going on with the fuel shortage right now, it’s just a crazy time.
‘We can still have lorries parked up, but we’re turning so many away at the moment and our pumps are still out of action.’
Hampshire Police said it was investigating the incident. MailOnline has contacted the force for further comment.
Mr O’Donnell said the alleged theft has left his supplies low, forcing lorry and HGV drivers who normally use his facilities to queue up at petrol stations and try to get fuel amid the nationwide fuel crisis.
Mr O’Donnell said CCTV footage, recorded at 12.45am, showed two lorries arriving at the truck stop at around midnight before someone (pictured) put a pipe into one of his fuel tanks
Mr O’Donnell told the BBC that the alleged theft was a ‘massive hit’ to his family-run business Portsmouth Truck Stop (pictured), which has been running for more than 30 years
Panic buying of fuel has escalated in recent weeks and drivers have been forced to queue for hours in a bid to get petrol, with many service stations being left with dwindling or depleted supplies.
Motorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads and police had to be called in to marshal drivers amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees.
Ministers have been accused of dooming Britain to a Winter of Incompetence as panic buying of fuel escalated amid talks on giving temporary visas to foreign HGV drivers.
The situation is improving in the North East and Yorkshire but the South East and Midlands are continuing to suffer, leaked Government analysis revealed today.
Average fuel levels at UK petrol stations were at 20 per cent for the third day running today – less than half the normal figure of 43 per cent – but the Whitehall analysis showed a drastically varying picture by region.
London, the South East, the North West, the West Midlands and East Midlands all have fuel levels of below 20 per cent and are labelled ‘red’ under a traffic light system that is reminiscent of the Government’s travel lists.
But fuel levels are improving in the North East, Yorkshire and Wales which have all moved from red to amber, while Scotland is moving from amber to green – and Northern Ireland is already green, reported The Times.
Revelations over the regional variations came as the Government was today accused of ‘gaslighting’ Britain over the fuel crisis, with Ministers admitting more than a quarter of petrol stations still remain without supplies.
Ministers have been accused of dooming Britain to a Winter of Incompetence as panic buying of fuel escalated. Pictured: Sign outside a petrol station in London on Thursday
London and Bristol were among the worst hit areas today as UK roads were gridlocked for the seventh day in a row while motorists hunt for stations with fuel, carrying petrol cans, plastic jugs and water bottles to stock up.
Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told MailOnline today that there might be a case for prioritising supplies to London but the main thing was for people to calm down.
He said: ‘London is always the first to panic and the last to get back to normal… I suspect what has been going on is since Covid people have abandoned trains and got back in cars. That has created greater demand.’
Sir Iain, who represents Chingford and Woodford Green in North East London, pointed out that many people commuting into London could see petrol stations busy as they travelled on arterial routes, and that ‘spooked’ them about whether they had enough fuel.
‘London will get back eventually when people calm down,’ he added. Asked if supplies should be prioritised for the capital, he said: ‘I think a bit of both. They have probably got a priority to get the petrol there, but the most important thing is for people to calm down.’
The Petrol Retailers Association said it had surveyed 1,200 fuel stations across the UK today, and 52 per cent of sites reported having both petrol and diesel in stock, 21 per cent had only one in stock and 27 per cent were dry.