Forecourt fuel crime losses from unpaid fuel rise by 20% in Q2 2022, BOSS reports

Increasing incidents of unpaid fuel have driven the latest Forecourt Crime Index to record levels according to BOSS, the British Oil Security Syndicate. Fuel prices increased a further 6.6% to an average of 171.7 pence per litre (ppl) leading BOSS to estimate average annual losses per site increasing 20% to £5,766.44 (Q1 2022: £4,748.48).  

During the three months to 30 June 2022 (Q2 2022) the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index increased to 209.2 (199: Q1 2022), reaching the highest level since the Index was introduced in 2015.  The Index collates reports of No Means of Payment (NMoP) and Drive Off incidents made to BOSS Payment Watch, the specialist forecourt fuel loss recovery service.   

During Q2 2022 NMoP incident reports increased 2.74%, while the number of Drive Off incidents climbed 9.58%. Both, NMoP and Drive-Off categories are 20% higher than in Q4 2021. 

The average number of incidents per site advanced to 21.7 (20.3: Q1 2022). NMoP incidents account for 64% of all reports and the cost of each incident averaged £75.54 (Q1 2022: £65.73), while a Drive Off incident cost increased to £53.82 per incident (Q1 2022: £47.41).  

Fuel prices maintained their upward trend, rising 6.6% during Q2 2022 to an average of 171.2 pence per litre (ppl) for unleaded petrol (161.0 ppl: Q1 2022). The average price peaked at 185.9 ppl in June 2022. 

Claire Nichol, the executive director at BOSS, said: “The stark reality is forecourt fuel crime continues to escalate. The total number of unpaid fuel incidents has jumped 40% over the last 12 months which has pushed the Forecourt Crime Index to record levels. 

“While No Means of Payment dominate reports we receive, Drive Off and failure pay incidents have risen by 10% in recent months, so we would strongly recommend making sure all customers are asked to pay for fuel.  

“Carefully recording information about each unpaid fuel incident means that if a motorist does not return to make a payment, we can pursue those who deliberately evade payment. Recovering money owed is more likely when accurate vehicle information is recorded about each incident. 

“Busy forecourts are particularly exposed, especially at peak time. Retail staff could benefit from additional training and support to help them cope effectively with the increasing number of incidents.” 

BOSS Payment Watch features robust guidelines and procedures that help forecourt retailers to recover the cost of unpaid fuel from Drive-Off and No Means of Payment incidents. 

Forecourt crime reduction guides that help forecourt retailers reduce incidents and keep forecourts safe places to work and shop are available from BOSS. A free copy of the BOSS Drive-Off Prevention guide can be downloaded from the BOSS website at https://bossuk.org/guidance