Garage owner forced to pay £6k to dispose of recovered stolen fuel
A GARAGE owner who had £25,000 of diesel stolen has had to pay £6,000 for it to be disposed of.
Malcolm Blake was told by police they would not be able to conduct forensic tests on the lorry the fuel was found in until the 16,500 litres of fuel had been removed.
Mr Blake, the owner of the Oasis garage in Long Riston, then had to pay a private company £6,000 to remove and dispose of the diesel.
He said: "It is a double whammy when it is for something that was stolen from me.
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"I would have been better off if they had got away with it.
"I am the innocent one but I am the one who has ended up with a bill."
A spokesman for Humberside Police said the cost was "unfortunate" and said the force will seek compensation for Mr Blake in any future court case.
Police found the stolen fuel after a high-speed chase involving two lorries that failed to stop for officers.
Hours later, a member of staff from the garage noticed there had been a break-in, off the A165, and contacted police.
CCTV cameras at the garage had been broken before the fuel was siphoned from pipework.
Mr Blake, who is insured, said: "The police got in touch with me after I reported it and said they couldn't get the trucks moved to do forensic tests while the fuel was still on the lorry. They said it was unsafe for it to be moved while the fuel was there.
"The total cost was £6,000, which I am not happy about.
"The fuel could be contaminated, so I can't use it. I had to get it removed and disposed of properly.
"The people who have done this are the ones who should pay.
"I have already had to pay almost £25,000 to replace the fuel.
"It is a lot of money and it is affecting me badly.
"I am sure the insurance will pay, but my premiums will go through the roof. It is not the police's fault, but I am not happy about it."
Two men were arrested after the lorries were spotted driving in tandem in Pollington, near Goole, in the early hours of August 18.
Police chased the lorries for several miles along the M62 westbound before using a stinger to stop one of the vehicles.
Despite the driver of one of the lorries running from the cab and into a nearby field, officers caught him and arrested him for theft.
The other driver was arrested after the stinger was used to stop the lorry.
Officers later found the diesel inside the lorries, which had been adapted to enable fuel to be siphoned into containers without arousing suspicion.
Both vehicles were taken to Goole police station and will now be subjected to forensic testing.
The arrests were made as part of a month-long crackdown on fuel theft in the East Riding, codenamed Operation Witch Hazel.
The force spokesman said: "The diesel was identified as belonging to the complainant and he was made aware and invited to collect the property.
"Unfortunately, because of the nature of the property, collecting it has resulted in an expense to Mr Blake.
"We have explained the process to Mr Blake and said we will be seeking compensation for him to help cover the costs through the courts.
"This can take some time, unfortunately, but in the long run we are hopeful he will be reimbursed.
"The investigation is still ongoing and there are two suspects in the case who remain on police bail."
East Riding councillor Matthew Grove has written to Chief Constable Tim Hollis asking for an explanation.
He said: "It should be criminals that pay to clean up the mess, not the victim. It can't be right."
A 20-year-old Doncaster man and a 44-year-old man from Manchester have both been released on bail until next month.