It’s unfortunate when it happens, although, it’s not unexpected when a lorry driver’s petrol is siphoned off. It’s easy to get lulled into a sense of security and safety as an operator of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) through to a large goods vehicle (LGV). After all, at more than 3,500 kilograms, they are pretty daunting and frightening to approach, especially when the operator’s unaware.
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On the black market, HGV petrol has a fetching price that makes it worth the risk for thieves. Because petrol is consistently high in price to buy, regardless of the commodities market pricing, there are plenty of willing buyers who do not care where the ill-gotten petrol was pilfered. To be clear, the cargo that the driver is hauling is oftentimes as valuable as the petrol itself.
When stopping, most drivers are hungry and tired. They need their rest so that they can get back out on the road to deliver their cargo safely. They have a lot on their minds between eating, sleeping and maintaining the vehicle. All of these needs can take the driver away from the vehicle for a good deal of time, despite their meticulous HGV training.
Dangers of Petrol Siphoning
The fact that a driver could conceivably return to their HGV to find they are curiously lower on petrol than they expected, or unable to drive as far without buying more petrol gives way to a potentially worse surprise. Never forget that petrol is highly flammable.
The bandits may be so focused on robbing the driver off petrol that they could cause fire or explosions. Even more, the unsuspecting driver may return to the HGV to a terrible surprise – the truck in flames or exploding. If that does not happen, the burglars could have caused unseen damage that causes a fire and explosion when the driver starts the truck.
How Complex Is Siphoning Petrol?
Siphoning is surprisingly simple thanks to physics, the placement of the tanks (for convenience and accessibility) and to the natural order of the planet. A long tube is inserted into the petrol tank through easy access to the fuel cap. They suck the fuel out with their mouths then drop the pipe into a petrol container. Once they have collected as much petrol as they want, they stop the flow by lifting the tube up.
How long it takes all depends on how much fuel the bandits want to get into their containers. It usually goes anywhere from three minutes at the minimum up to 15 minutes. While it really can be a bad discovery for a trucker to have on the road, there are ways to prevent the problem in the future:
- They could employ a fuel cap with a lock on it, for one. The only time that the driver really needs to access the fuel tank is to add petrol. Another method involves having an alarm. While the alarm may seem ineffective, there’s one thing thieves hate: onlookers.
As thieves so badly wants to avoid being seen, whether suspected of taking what’s not theirs or not, they do not want anything bringing attention to themselves. The issue is that many people are so accustomed to alarms on vehicles that people seem to ignore them with an alarming frequency, making them ineffective.
- There is another solution, better than most. The impregnable HF has been introduced by Co-Op in response to petrol theft. It’s really great because it takes advantage of the normal course of petrol as it is put into the tank and therefore does not hassle the driver with any more responsibilities.
Here’s how it works. Once the fuel tank is filled up, the fuel is locked from access by a valve that acts as a floating lock. It simply sits atop the fuel to barricade the fuel from being accessed. It plays another excellent role as it stops overfilling of the petrol tank and also prevents spilling over of pricey petrol at the pump.
Additional Security Features
Cameras are a great way to deter would-be thieves. Whether the camera will catch them in the act or not, they do not want the concern of being watched. In a fuelling yard or especially in a vehicle yard where a fleet is kept and maintained, having high fences that are fully secured along with good lighting are both essential elements to have in place. This will make your fleet a much less appealing target.
On the road, be sure to be aware of where you are parking, no matter how short of a time you will leave the vehicle. Block access to the tank by parking close to walls and other structures. Just be sure to still be courteous and thoughtful of other drivers.