A WANGARATTA petrol station franchisee has welcomed moves to have fuel drive-offs treated as criminal theft offences instead of civil matters.
Wangaratta Apco petrol station franchisee, Brett Anderson, said the number of drivers filling up their vehicles with petrol and leaving without payment was a “huge problem” in Wangaratta.
“We probably have three (fuel drive-offs) per week,” he told the Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday.
“We get a lot of them because so many travellers pass through our service station on the freeway and we’re open 24/7.
“It’s terrible; when we lose that money, it’s gone.”
Mr Anderson said the State Coalition’s policy commitment to make fuel drive-offs an instant criminal offence was a “great idea”.
“If fuel drive-offs were treated as a criminal matter, it would deter people from doing it,” he said.
“It needs to become a criminal offence.”
Shadow Minister for Police, Community Safety and Corrections, Edward O’Donohue, said at a law and order forum in Wangaratta last week there needed to be harsher penalties for those who steal fuel.