Gardai warns of ‘drive off’ thefts following incidents in north Cork

Gardai warns of ‘drive off’ thefts following incidents in north Cork

Gardai have warned petrol station owners to be on their guard after an isolated north Cork filling station was targeted twice by ‘drive off’ thefts in the space of two hours.

The petrol station was left out of pocket to the tune of €95 and €100 in the space of a couple of hours when drivers made off without paying for their fuel.

Garda Sergeant John Kelly, who is based in Fermoy, warned filling station staff to be wary of similar incidents.

He told Patricia Messinger on Cork C103’s Today Show: “Filled to the top, €100 in one car €95 in the other, and literally out the gap straight away.”

Sergeant Kelly said fuel station owners may need to switch to requiring drivers to pay for petrol before filling up if the issue persists.

“Automatic filling stations are now beginning to appear, and people are getting used the concept of our paying before you fill,” he suggested.

Sergeant Kelly said many vehicles involved in such incidents might be driving with “dodgy” false registration plates and drivers may be concealing their identity.

He added: “They could be wearing wearing a mask, and they also could be wearing a baseball cap.”

Sergeant Kelly has warned that coming into the summer period, these isolated instances could just be the start of a wider spate of drive off thefts.

He said: “People need to keep an eye on this, it just could get a bit bigger.”

If these drive-offs continue, owners of petrol stations will experience significant losses as the profit margin on petrol sales is small.

Sergeant Kelly said: “There are some places that are making way more money from their coffee machine than they are from their petrol pumps.”