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Fuel thieves targeting older Mercedes cars

PUBLISHED: 12:07 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 25 August 2010

FUEL thefts across the country have risen sharply following the increase of petrol prices. Mercedes Benz car models over 10 years old have been targeted for siphoning off fuel by a small number of fuel thieves, Greenwich Police confirmed this week. The

FUEL thefts across the country have risen sharply following the increase of petrol prices.

Mercedes Benz car models over 10 years old have been targeted for siphoning off fuel by a small number of fuel thieves, Greenwich Police confirmed this week.

The thefts were concentrated around the Greenwich and Blackheath areas and officers have warned owners of cars, including the Mercedes-Benz SLK, CLK, M-Class and C-Class models, to keep fuel levels at a minimum to prevent their cars from being targeted.

One retired Greenwich resident, whose fuel cover was ripped off by petrol thieves in Greenwich Peninsula, said: "Greenwich police said there had been a 100 per cent rise in fuel theft from that particular car park.

"As for my case, they could not check the CCTV because it was a privately-owned car park and they - the police, cinema and stores - did not have details of the CCTV owners.

"The advice of police not to fill up the tank and keep fuel to a minimum level is disgraceful and it will not stop these idiots from damaging the car.

"If you report damage or theft to your insurance company, as by law you must, your premiums will go up. Better to lose 10 gallons of petrol than see your premiums go through the roof!"

Last month, police were notified of 12 fuel thefts in the borough and a spokesperson was keen to note that theft from vehicles in the borough is down 8.7 per cent on last year.

However, the MPS crime rate of theft from a motor vehicle in Peninsula ward is higher than any other ward in Greenwich, Bexley or Bromley, with 27 incidents reported in February.

The AA reported that the average UK petrol price was 119.46p a litre on Tuesday, though police told the Times that fuel thefts would accrue little money.

A police spokesperson said: "Theft of fuel from tanks is a relatively rare offence. The cars targeted are Mercedes which have been manufactured more than 10 years ago; all victims have been contacted and have been given crime prevention advice.

"On March 5, officers from Blackheath arrested two 23-year-old men under suspicion of theft of fuel and further inquiries are ongoing to investigate them.

"We would strongly advise those shopping in retail parks to ensure that all their shopping is stored away in the boot of their cars or van. A decoy operation in the area is currently ongoing."

A spokesman for Mercedes-Benz said the company was as yet unaware of its cars being targeted for fuel by thieves.

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