The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has teamed up with the Home Office to create new guidance for retailers on fuel theft.

Launched as part of the Home Office’s Crime Prevention Panel, which includes the ACS, the guidance is aimed at the prevention of fuel theft. According to ACS research, fuel theft costs retailers £31m per year.

Chief executive James Lowman said: “Fuel retailers make every effort to prevent fuel theft from their sites by investing in CCTV, automatic number plate recognition and staff training.  We hope the guidance we have produced will support retailers to prevent fuel theft and help them build closer relationships with the police to catch offenders and deter others from trying.”

Hoping to tackle ‘drive offs’ or ‘bilking’ where offenders fill up their vehicles and drive away without paying, and ‘no means of payment’ issues where individuals repeatedly claim not to have the means to pay for fuel, the guidance offers best practice advice to retailers on legislation and working with law enforcement agencies.

Crime prevention minister Lynne Featherstone said: “Crime is down by more than 20% under the coalition government according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales. However, we are not complacent.

“That is why the Home Office created a Crime Prevention Panel of industry leaders, police, charities and academics who are spearheading our understanding of today’s emerging crime trends. The Association of Convenience Stores is a member of this panel,” she added. “Today’s guidance has an important part to play in cracking down on fuel theft, protecting retailers’ revenues and supporting police work to catch the perpetrators.”

Guidance on the management of self-scan tills including supporting customers in processing variable weight items such as fruit and vegetables , and preventing fraudulent activities like swapping barcodes has also been published.

Both sets of guidance are available on the ACS website.