UK Petrol stations are stepping up their forecourt security amid fears of a surge in the number of cash-strapped motorists who fill up then drive off without paying.
The average price of a litre of unleaded is now 124p thanks to the VAT rise, up from 107p a year ago.
As a result many garages have upgraded CCTV, alarms and locks on storage tanks.
Brian Madderson, of the Retail Motor Industry, said: “Most petrol stations have increased their security.”
One Lexus driver has made off with over £600 of fuel from seven service stations on the A34 in Hampshire.