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Pied petrol-pipers of Hamelin strike

The Local · 6 Apr 2012, 14:29

Published: 06 Apr 2012 14:29 GMT+02:00

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According to a number of regional police authorities, more and more thieves are sneaking into car parks at night and siphoning off fuel.

A gang reportedly broke into the tanks of four trucks in the small town of Hamelin on the night of March 31, and stole 1,450 litres of diesel, worth €2,200. The Pied Petrol Pipers of Hamelin took advantage of the dark car park near a remote freight train station on a Saturday night, when all the workers had long gone home.

Since the start of the year, incidents of fuel theft have risen by 11 percent in Lower Saxony, six percent in Bavaria, 25 percent in the northern state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, and a whopping 33 percent in Brandenburg.

The robbers' main targets are large trucks, whose tanks contain up to 1,000 litres of fuel.

"The perpetrators come with a large van, for example, which has a huge tank built into its back," said Claws Tohsche, spokesman for Daimler, the large truck builders in the world.

The cap is ripped off by force, or a hole is drilled into the tank. It is then emptied with a small electric pump and a length of tube. Many trucks only have plastic tanks, to cut costs and save weight, which are much easier to break into than expensive steel tanks.

Companies hit be the theft often face extra costs through repairs and unplanned halts in their timetables.

Story continues below…

There has also been an increase in the amount of tank security technology on the market, as entrepreneurs spot a market opportunity. These include an alarm that goes off if the level in the tank drops when the ignition is not on.

The Local/DAPD/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

00:07 April 7, 2012 by wood artist
Sad, but predictable. The "bad guys" go where they can make the most money the quickest. Fuel is virtually untraceable, and, obviously, higher prices make it more likely they can sell it quickly...for a nice profit. It's easy to fence, and may not even require the usual middle man.

In the US, scrap metal was all the rage, until the recycling centers started clamping down and refusing to accept the obvious...steel guard rails from roadways, long runs of copper wire only used in the electrical grid, and stuff like that. Even bronze statues have been taken. Gotta love the bad guys.

06:21 April 7, 2012 by HHayrider
In the Cental Valley of California, copper theft is a big thing, and has been for several years. A large number of cities are reporting street lighting, and sports fields are going dark, due to the problem.

Local recyclers are required to check ID's, and report anything suspicious, but if you smelt the copper cable into ingots, and then sell it, its obvious, but its no longer considered cable, ergo not required to be reported.
11:12 April 7, 2012 by Anth2305

Likewise they'll stop at absolutely nothing here in the UK, from the roof lead off medieval churches, 500 year old lead gutters and drainpipes, bronze war memorials to railway track and electricity substations, you name it they'll steal it.

It's not unusual to hear the suggestion that this kind of thing couldn't happen, or wouldn't be tolerated in other countries such as Germany or the U.S, so its a bit of a revelation when reading various online publications from different countries, to realise that in so many ways everyday life for ordinary people isn't so very different, wherever one lives.
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