Hauliers are being warned to be on their guard against increasing incidences of fuel theft around the UK, as fuel prices rise.

Police forces across the country are raising the alarm on a spate of fuel thefts, including one recently reported by Derbyshire Police in which a teenager and a man were apprehended in a lay-by with equipment in their boot of their car used to steal fuel from lorries.

Nottinghamshire Police have also been on the alert to rising fuel crimes, using drones and a “capture lorry” as a decoy to try and catch potential fuel thieves, RHA reported this week.

Devon and Cornwall Police recently issued a warning to hauliers, homeowners and businesses to be on their guard after seeing an increase in reports of theft relating to both domestic heating oil and diesel fuel.

The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Police Service (NaVCIS) said hauliers must take extra care. Its research shows that in January fuel theft accounted for 38% of all cargo crimes — nearly double that in January 2020, with four incidents recorded every day, compared with two before the price rise.

A NaVCIS spokesman said: “Wherever there is demand, criminals will adapt and steal.”

NaVCIS is warning that gangs use a variety of methods to steal fuel, with pumps have also been attached to lorries that can empty tanks within minutes. Other tactics include cloning the number plates of legitimate HGVs to escape with the fuel and using GPS scramblers to avoid being tracked.

Police said operators must also take care against thefts of fuel from depots and storage tanks, which can leave hauliers facing thousands of pounds in losses. In one recent case around £24,000 of fuel was stolen from a haulage storage tank in Newcastle.

Police are advising HGV drivers to park in areas covered by CCTV, which are well lit, or can be seen from a security office and make sure fuel tanks are as secure as possible, with padlocks on filler caps. Drivers are also advised to dial 999 and reportany suspicious activity to the police immediately.