Trucks and fuel storage tanks in depots are becoming targets for organised crime

06 July 2009
Viper Guard has called for urgent Government action to control rising oil prices and is warning of a new wave of fuel theft. The warning follows predictions that speculation in the oil market will soon see diesel prices back at last summer's high of £1.25-£1.30 litre, when both trucks and fuel storage tanks in depots became high-value targets for organised crime.

But Viper Guard General Manager Debbie Jones said things could be worse this time round thanks to the recession.

“Hard times not only tempt people into crime but also put pressure on potential purchasers not too ask too many questions,” she said. “Obviously we would urge all operators to make sure they have adequate security measures in place this summer, but we want to see Government action too.

“The Government sowed the seeds of the problem itself when the Chancellor first put 2p on a litre to offset his 2.5% VAT cut last November and then went ahead with the further 2p increase in April. These increases need to be reversed urgently both to help hauliers through the recession and to head off the expected increase in fuel theft.”

She also urged the Government to control the activities of speculators in the City. “These gamblers are threatening the health of the entire road transport sector, with inevitable knock-on effects across the economy,” she said. “But after the Government bail-outs in the banking industry last year, many of the speculators are effectively state employees.

“The lesson of the credit crunch, surely, is that it's enormously harmful to allow bankers to pursue their own narrow agenda at the expense of the wider public interest. Yet it seems the bankers have learnt nothing and are carrying on in the same old way. The Chancellor can and must rein them in before they do more damage.”

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