Diesel thefts anger local businessman

Filling up at a petrol station.
Filling up at a petrol station.

BUSINESS owners in the Journal and Gazette area have urged police to clamp down on a spate of crime in recent weeks.

Several businesses have been targeted with diesel stolen from their premises and, despite calls to police and handing over information as to who may be responsible, the crimes continue.

George McPhie, of Pardovan, who runs a vehicle breakdown business, has been targeted twice with over £800 of diesel siphoned from his lorries in recent weeks. When he contacted police, they asked if he had taken necessary precautions against theft. But Mr McPhie believes that if locking petrol caps were fitted, the culprits would puncture the diesel tanks, making him even more out of pocket.

He said the latest incident took place last Friday, when one of his fleet returned to the depot after a breakdown. Within 10 minutes of the lorry’s return, the tank was drained.

Similar incidents of diesel theft from lorries have taken place in Winchburgh at Halleys, the haulage contractors, and from coaches belonging to Campbell, the bus operator based there. Other thefts have taken place at Park Farm, Pardovan Farm, the FCBC compound at Kirkliston and at Bedlam Paintball.

Mr McPhie believes the same people are also targeting scrap metal, stealing lead flashing and scaffolding poles from houses in Bridgend.

He said that, despite giving police information linking the culprits to Bridgend, no one has been charged.

He added: “It’s got to the stage where the culprits are so blase they don’t even care about being caught on CCTV. Some of my elderly neighbours are also living in fear as they hear noises outside their properties at night but are too scared to check it out.”

Mr McPhie said: “The police are aware of who is responsible.”

This week, police said the last housebreaking recorded at Pardovan Farm was in September 2012 and a 28-year-old man was charged with the offence. They said they were still investigating a diesel theft from a vehicle at Halley’s Haulage between April 4 and 5.

A Police Scotland spokesman added: “Police are investigating following a theft of fuel in Linlithgow, between 1.30-2.10am on Friday, April 26, at a Pardovan address. Around 200 litres of diesel were taken from a vehicle that was parked for the night.

“Police Scotland is committed to tackling acquisitive crime, including the theft of fuel and metal. We carry out a thorough investigation whenever a report of this nature is made and work closely with partner agencies to deter criminal activity and identify anyone involved.

“Anyone wishing to report a crime should contact Police Scotland by telephone on 101.”