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Rural fuel theft on increase as petrol, diesel prices soar
15 July 2008

By JONATHON HOWE - Manawatu Standard

Soaring petrol and diesel prices have led to an increase in rural fuel thefts throughout the Tararua and Manawatu Districts.

Farm supplies have been pillaged, vehicles drained and small service stations hit as diesel approaches the $2 a litre mark.

Dannevirke police are on the lookout for anyone trying to sell cheap diesel after 400 litres of the fuel was stolen from a farm south of Dannevirke last week.

The diesel was taken from a large container on the Laws Road farm.

Dannevirke Senior Sergeant Mark Revill-Johnson said the owners of the diesel were "gutted".

"We've had information about vehicles acting suspiciously in the area which might fit the description of someone we are aware of.

"I'd be very interested to hear from people who know someone that has come into a large amount of diesel or is trying to sell it off cheaply."

There had also been two commercial vehicles drained of petrol in the area, but it was not an "everyday thing", Mr Revill-Johnson said.

Manawatu Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Allan Muntz had encountered three rural petrol thefts over the past two weeks - two on farms and one on a lifestyle block.

"The biggest one was 30 litres, which is basically a tankful. There was one case of a tractor's fuel being taken."

Farmers should report any unknown visitor to their property even if nothing was taken, Mr Muntz said.

Feilding Sergeant Mike Lawton said there had been a number of drive offs in Feilding, especially at service stations on the outskirts of town.

"One at the north end of town has been suffering the most problems, but we are working with them."

Security cameras, putting pumps onto prepay early and having at least two staff members on at any time were some of the ways to battle the problem, he said.

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