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Thefts soar along with fuel prices

Petrol stations, hauliers, bus firms and farmers being targeted as diesel hits new record

SOARING petrol prices have seen soaring numbers of thefts - and not just from petrol stations but from hauliers' yards, bus depots and even farmyards.

Frédéric Plan of the Fédération des Combustibles, Carburants et Chauffage said: "Each time the fuel price rises the number of thefts rises too."

This week diesel prices have hit their highest level since 2008, costing on average €1.4584 against the previous record of €1.4541. Diesel is used by 80% of road-users in France.

However, these prices are averages across France and drivers can face much higher prices at their local garage. In Paris, one station is charging more than €2.020 for a litre of SP95, while the average price across the country is a new record of €e1.6541 for SP95 and €1.6883 for SP98.

Oil industry group Union Française des Industries Pétrolières (Ufip) says thefts from petrol stations rose 20% over 2011 from 2010, with drivers filling up and then driving off without paying.

Regional newspapers are also reporting a rash of thefts:

* a gang suspected of stealing 6,000 litres of fuel from petrol stations caught in Vannes, in Morbihan (Le Télégramme) ;
* supermarket petrol tanks being emptied in Loir-et-Cher La Nouvelle République;
* a lorry driver's tank being emptied in Rhône Le Progrès;
* in Niort, a farmer caught a man siphoning fuel from his tractor - and said he had lost 160 litres of fuel since the beginning of the year La Nouvelle République.

Lorries are being targeted as their fuel tanks can hold up to 1,000 litres of diesel and hauliers group Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers told Le Figaro that "siphoning" had increased hugely over the past two months. It estimated that 20 million litres were being stolen each year.

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