Procurement · 24 January 2017

Fuel theft identified as a growing small business concern

fuel
Rising rates of fuel theft are hampering small business growth

More than £1.4m worth of fuel was stolen from companies up and down the country throughout 2015, highlighting a worsening issue for small UK business owners.

The latest research from Certas Energy, one of the UK’s largest fuel distributors, has uncovered that there were 19,755 official commercial fuel thefts in Britain in 2015, worth a total of roughly £1.47m.

Revealing the highest number of business fuel thefts by region, Greater Manchester came out on top, with 3,804 thefts in total reported in the area in the 12 months of that year.

South Yorkshire was found to be the second highest region, with 2,382 fuel thefts reported, while the county of Hertfordshire took third place with 1,705.

Commenting on the “alarmingly high” statistics, Certas Energy spokesman Angus Blundell said that local UK authorities and police forces needed to pay closer attention to the issue in order to get it under control.

He explained that in 2015, “Not all police forces held or recorded the total value of oil theft, meaning [these figures] could be the tip of the iceberg”.

“Whether thefts amount to stealing directly from a petrol forecourt or stock taken from commercial premises, it is important that these crimes are considered as severe as burglary,” added Blundell.

The UK’s 2015 fuel theft hotspots, both in terms of the number of crimes reported and highest theft value are detailed below:

Reported instances of fuel theft

  • Greater Manchester – 3,804
  • South Yorkshire – 2,382
  • Hertfordshire –    1,705
  • West Mercia –    1,550
  • Avon and Somerset – 1,167

Highest total reported value of fuel theft

  • Greater Manchester – £265,044.31
  • West Mercia – £247,288.11
  • Lincolnshire – £118,585
  • Derbyshire –    £112,312.49
  • Hertfordshire –  £108,061.73

Britain’s small business owners have also identified vehicle theft as an increasingly significant threat affecting growth and development.

Data compiled last year by the Asset Protection Unit (APU) found that between 2009 and 2014, over ten per cent of vehicles stolen in the UK belonged to a company rather than an individual.

Similarly, just over five per cent of the 106,000 car key burglaries reported to police throughout the period affected company vehicles.

Read our exclusive feature about overcoming adversity in business, here. 

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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