Drive-offs costing Irish forecourts average of €2.5k a year

Drive-offs costing Irish forecourts average of €2.5k a year

The Irish Petrol Retailers Association claim that thefts at petrol stations are on the increase ‘due to the cost-of-living crisis’.

A report in the Irish Examiner revealed that retailers are losing on average €2,500 due to drive-offs, following a ‘straw poll’ by the IPRA of its members.

The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) recently wrote to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, claiming that “such thefts at petrol stations are on the increase due to the cost-of-living crisis and consumers ‘taking a chance’ that the retailer will not follow up and press charges”.

A new pilot scheme aimed at curbing “drive offs” at fuel stations where drivers leave without paying is set to be rolled out, but retailers are demanding new laws to chase debts from forecourts across the country the Irish Examiner reporter.

In response, the minister said she welcomes the new pilot initiative and urged the association to work with gardaí to make it a success.

The petrol retailers said they are working with the gardaí on the new initiative that will begin at three forecourts in Dublin that will involve training staff, increasing garda presence, and trying to minimise the number of instances where customers leave without paying for their fuel.

The IPRA instead called for a number plate system, similar to the UK, where a number plate can only be made from a registered supplier and customers need to show documents to prove they are entitled to that registration number, to allow the gardaí follow-up on crimes.

“The introduction of a similar system, along with legislation making it an offence for an unregistered plate manufacturer to supply plates will help An Garda Síochána to follow up on crime,” it said.

The letter concluded that it would be an “easy win” for Ms McEntee’s department as it would help businesses, the government, and the gardaí.

In a response on behalf of Helen McEntee, it was noted that three forecourts had already been selected for the pilot to try to clamp down on drive-offs.

“The minister notes that the pilot will focus on detection and prevention of these crimes, with a dedicated Garda liaison allocated to the forecourt to facilitate increased communication between An Garda Síochána and the forecourt management and staff,” she said.

“Assistant Commissioner Angela Willis has instructed that this initiative be reviewed after a three-month period to assess its effectiveness and with a view to extending it across the Dublin Region.”