Rising petrol prices have triggered off an increase in “drive aways”, with motorists pulling away from forecourts without paying for their petrol. These thefts cost the industry over £11 million in 2006, but this figure has risen over the past few months.
In an attempt to overcome the problem many petrol stations have installed “stingers” on their forecourts. These stingers are retractable spikes that puncture the tyres of would-be drive aways. However, the increasing use of run-flat tyres has rendered stingers ineffective. Now, a Birmingham company has come up with a solution to the problem posed by run-flat tyres. The company, Drivestop, has developed a system that injects a microchip into the tyre, which can then be traced by police.
The system was invented by Jaginder Singh Mudhar in response to increasing drive aways from his father’s petrol station. He has installed 10 systems so far, but expects increasing interest as the incidence of petrol theft increase. The system costs £10,000 to install, but rising petrol costs will make the system increasingly cost-effective.