Police have signed up the first fuel station in Herefordshire to the We Don’t Buy Crime – ‘have you paid for your fuel?’ scheme.

The Esso station on The Homend (A438) in Ledbury has signed up to the scheme, that is funded by the Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) in hopes that it will help stop the number of people driving off without paying for fuel.

We’re aware the impact people who make off without paying for their fuel has on fuel stations and that while it may be the case that in some instances people simply forget and drive off unintentionally there are also occasions where we know it has been a deliberate act with those who do it often involved in wider serious and organised crime and exploitation.

Officers have successfully worked closely with fuel stations in Telford and South Shropshire to sign up to the ‘have you paid for your fuel?’ scheme to display stickers on fuel pumps and signs in key locations on the forecourt. The signs and stickers ask motorists if they have paid for their fuel and remind them they are being watched; and that the fuel station is working with police to prevent the number of people driving off without paying for their fuel.

Sgt Ram Aston said: “We are excited to launch the We Don’t Buy Crime – ‘Have you paid for your fuel?’ scheme in our first petrol station in Herefordshire. The scheme was launched in Telford nearly six months ago and we have had great success with working with the staff at fuel stations to reduce the number of people driving off without paying for fuel.

“As part of this work we are working with the staff at the Ledbury fuel station to not just help prevent the number of people making off without paying but also help staff spot the signs someone may be vulnerable or exploited and encourage them that, if they have any suspicions at all, or if a car leaves without paying for fuel, to contact police on 101.

He continued: “We have a number of other Herefordshire and Worcestershire fuel stations interested in the scheme and hope to sign these up over the next few weeks.”

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “Initiatives that work to prevent crime from happening in the first place are invaluable. That is why I welcome the ‘Have you paid for your fuel?’ scheme in tackling an issue that has been plaguing fuel stations across West Mercia.

“I was pleased to support officers in displaying this signage, as well as delivering important messages about how the staff can play a key role in helping the police by being the eyes and ears within the community.”

We are also working closely with the associated business in proximity to fuel stations, such as coffee shops, snack bars, cafes and hotels. We are educating and upskilling their staff to be aware of the signs that are contributing to the thefts such as the grooming of young and vulnerable people, organised crime, human trafficking and modern slavery. This is not just part of our determined effort to disrupt theft and organised crime but also a wraparound service to reduce vulnerability and help to protect staff who are can also become victims of assault and intimidation.

It is key to West Mercia Police that we provide a high level of service to both our business and rural communities and make it clear to all criminals they will be spotted and dealt with in our force area

We Don’t Buy Crime is West Mercia Police’s response to serious acquisitive crime and the associated harm it causes all under the broader Protect campaign to tackle serious and organised crime.

Issued: 11.25am, Thursday 25 April, MC, Corp Communications