Diesel drivers warned as major law changes may lead to rise in thefts – ‘This concerns us’

Diesel drivers are being ‘ripped off’ says Fair Fuel UK

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Major law changes were introduced on April 1, when red diesel was banned from most common uses, with only certain industries, like agriculture and rail, allowed to use the rebated fuel. The number of companies, groups and organisations who are able to access red diesel has now been slashed to meet new environmental strategies.

Red diesel was targeted as it currently accounts for around 15 percent of all diesel consumption in the UK and produces nearly 14 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

Because of this change in Government policy combined with the soaring cost of living crisis, drivers are being warned of fuel thefts.

Motorists are being urged to only purchase diesel from reputable places like filling stations over fears thieves may be benefitting from recent changes to red diesel laws.

Kingdom Systems is warning that a “tipping point” could be seen where thieves look for tanks located away from fuel forecourts to steal from.

Craig Walton, Director at Kingdom Systems, warned drivers to ensure they are protecting their cars from potential thieves.

He said: “As ministers have now dropped plans to offer red diesel to construction sites and others, we’re worried it could lead to a tipping point where thieves now target these places knowing their gains will largely be untraceable. And this concerns us. 

“We would urge all industries who have changed to diesel to be watching their tanks and supplies over the coming months to make sure thieves are not benefitting. 

“It’s imperative to be monitoring over the coming months as watching stocks and supplies will be crucial.

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“Motorists, meanwhile, need to make sure they’re purchasing from reputable outlets, as they could be helping the criminals by buying elsewhere.”

Red diesel was taxed at a far lower rate compared to regular diesel and contained red dye to the differences clear.

Fuel duty for regular vehicles is 52.95p per litre, compared to 11.14p per litre for rebated fuels.

Any vehicles, machines or appliances which are found to be running unlawfully on rebated fuel and red diesel could be seized.

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Because the red dye element has now been phased out for many, there is growing concern thieves will know this and the stolen diesel won’t be as easily traced.

Thefts were not covered in a Government policy paper on the subject, which was published prior to the changes in November 2021. 

At the time, a Government spokesperson said there would be a financial burden on the justice system arising from the changes, but this would be minimal. 

They said: “The Ministry of Justice is content that there would be negligible extra costs on the justice system arising from any prohibition.” 

There was no mention of thefts or the impact of thefts in what they said.

Recently, a Home Office spokesperson told Kingdom Systems that it doesn’t expect to implement further changes.

They added: “The Home Office does not anticipate reforms leading to fuel theft at scale but will work closely with policing partners to monitor the situation. 

“Fuel users storing diesel in tanks or in vehicles and machinery on their site should continue to take steps to ensure this is stored securely.”

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