Thieves have resorted to drilling holes in petrol tanks and draining the contents, prompting a rise in car insurance claims, an insurer has said.
Direct Line said that four-wheel drive cars are particularly attractive to thieves because of their large fuel tanks, and also their greater ground clearance which makes access to the tank a lot easier. When full, many 4x4s can contain around £80 worth of unleaded petrol and £100 of diesel.
It was also reported that damage to a fuel tank can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds to repair.
In order to guard against fuel thieves drivers have been urged to keep cars parked in a locked garage or a well-lit area.
Motorists should remain vigilant when filling up and ensure nobody is following them when they drive away from a petrol station.
Drivers have also been warned not to try to make any repairs themselves, even if they are only intended to be temporary. Any repairs made to petrol tanks need to be conducted by a professional and fully tested before a car return to the road.
© The Press Association 2008