Petrol siphoning rampant

A SPATE of petrol siphoning incidents in the Latrobe Valley have left residents out of pocket and fuming, with one Morwell resident, hampered by medical issues that make walking difficult, forced to get around on foot.

Tony McMahon of Maryvale Crescent, Morwell, was the victim of two fuel thefts from his car last week, having been hit in the early hours last Monday morning then again two days later.

“I’ve got no fuel at all; I’ll have to walk around for a while,” Mr McMahon said.

“I can’t walk too far anyway; I’ve got a bad back and a hernia and I have to go for an operation and I’ve got to do all this walking around (because I can’t afford to replace the fuel).”

Mr McMahon said on both occasions the fuel cover had been forced open and the cap removed with thieves taking off with about 15 to 20 litres of petrol at a time.

After moving to Morwell from Traralgon about three months ago, Mr McMahon said he was aware of several other incidents in which Maryvale Crescent residents were victims of the same crime in the past month.

Two vehicles were targeted twice in Maryvale Crescent and McMillan Street on 10 and 21 September, and two attempted fuel robberies were reported in Auchterlonie Crescent, Churchill on 11 September.

Phillip Simpson had fuel siphoned from his vehicle in McMillan Street last Monday night and said his girlfriend’s car had also had petrol stolen from it recently along with others in the street, including a disabled woman’s car.

“It has been a hot spot in Morwell,” Mr Simpson said.

“We’ve had to grin and bear it so far but it’s about time we put it out there so people know what’s going on.

“In this instance I would like to see a name and shame board brought in to play (for perpetrators).”

Mr Simpson said he was aware of another instance last Tuesday night in McMillan Street.

Police are still investigating the issue and Victoria Police Leading Senior Constable Brett Godden said he had noticed an increase in fuel siphoning over the past three months.

“As fuel becomes a bit more expensive people turn around and say ‘I’m not going to pay for it but I’m still going to take it’,” Ldg Snr Const Godden said.

Ldg Snr Const Godden said people should ensure they locked their vehicles and fuel caps, parked off the street where possible and alert police of any thefts.