A DRIVER is blaming rocketing fuel prices for an extraordinary attack on his car.
Dave Huntley had been keeping his Nissan Patrol off-road after the MOT and tax expired. He was amazed at what he found when the time came to move the vehicle, which was stored on premises behind Newcastle Road in Sunderland.
“I had to move it and when I went to sort it out I noticed that the fuel tank was lying on the ground,” said Dave, 59, from Whitburn.
“I thought at first the supporting straps must have rusted away but there was no rust on the ground and no sign of the straps on the floor.”
The truth soon became clear – thieves had removed the tank in order to steal the fuel inside.
“The pipes had been sliced through and the neck had been cut off the tank to get the diesel out,” said Dave.
Now Dave, who is on long-term sick with osteo-arthritis, faces the cost of replacing the damaged parts.
“I can do the job myself, but it needs a new tank, new straps, the pipes will have to be changed and then there is the question of whether they have damaged the pump,” he said.
Dave is in no doubt soaring fuel prices are to blame for crooks going to such extreme measures.
“People can’t afford it so they are looking for an easy way to get it.”
Dave admits he has no idea how much fuel the thieves actually got away with.
“It had been there so long that I can’t remember how full the tank actually was,” he admitted.
“It is a 15-gallon tank, though, so it might have been quite a bit.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “We are aware that the cost of fuel is high, which can make it more attractive for thieves to steal.”