Fight against drive-offs stepped up

CALTEX Bridge Street staff member Ben Scheyvens will switch the pump on after you have come into the store with payment. Photo Sven Carlsson OB4279-01

SYSTEMATIC drive-offs have led to the decision to go on permanent pre-pay for an Opotiki petrol station.

Caltex Bridge Street manager Caroline Brokenshaw said the pumps at her petrol station were now permanently on pre-pay.

“Opotiki has had lots of drive- offs and people coming in to say they have no money,” she said.

“We had to stop it, because it was getting really bad.”

In Whakatane, the abuse of trust at petrol stations had gone to a new low.

“They had someone driving a car with several different licence plates over there,” Mrs Brokenshaw said.

“They also filled up containers, stealing $1000 worth of fuel.”

Mrs Brokenshaw said the car had since been found, but not the driver.

“We worried that type of behaviour would come over here,” she said.

Caltex St John Street manager Leah Mokomoko said the pumps at her petrol station were on prepay from 6pm to 6am.

“We watch the pumps and the cameras,” she said.

“If we have drive-offs we report it to the police by calling 111. They are really good on following up on it.”

At the Mobil Mart in Church Street, manager Bonnie Huriwaka said the pumps at her petrol station were turned off and would only be turned on after a successful visual inspection or payment.

“If you’re not known and trusted by the staff, you’ll have to come in and pay first,” she said.

Senior Sergeant Mark van der Kley said police had located one of the vehicles used during the petrol thefts in Whakatane.

“So far they have used two separate vehicles, we have located one of the vehicles but no occupants,” he said. “There hasn’t been any of these thefts in the last week.”

Mr van der Kley confirmed that the vehicles used were fitted with false plates.

“They fill up the car and petrol containers in the car or boot.”