Fuel thieves have prompted a renewed warning to drivers as the credit crunch puts extra strain on motoring budgets.
Insurer Direct Line says that thieves are now resorting to drilling holes in petrol tanks in order to drain the contents.
Four-wheel drive cars are particular targets because their large fuel tanks and greater ground clearance make access to the fuel tank a lot easier.
As well as costing unlucky drivers a tank of fuel, damage to the tank itself can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds to repair and will impact on insurance no-claims bonuses.
Tips for drivers include keep the car parked in a locked garage. If not, ensure it is located in a well-lit area.
When filling the tank, remain vigilant. There may be someone watching the petrol station looking for cars that have been filled with fuel. Ensure that no-one follows you from the petrol station.
And check that your insurer will cover you for damage caused by fuel thieves, and that they will arrange for your car to be towed to an appropriate repairer.
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