Police warn panic buying may lead to fuel theft in Barking and Dagenham

Police today urged motorists to protect their cars and homes after a rash of panic buying at the pumps.

They issued the warning after research conducted by the Post revealed that most petrol stations in Barking and Dagenham had run out of petrol at some point last week.

Barking and Dagenham Insp Mark Joyce gave warning the rush to fill up and stockpile fuel could lead to raids from forecourts, company vehicles and storage areas.

He said: “This situation may not arise, but it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant.

“The mistaken belief that there is a shortage of available fuel could attract criminals to commercial theft and even theft from domestic vehicles.

“Please be sure to lock your fuel cap if you can and if you can’t park your car off-road, be sure to park it in a well lit spot.”

Police added that the security of premises should be regularly reviewed and warned people that storing fuel at home or in the garage could constitute a fire hazard.