Scary Petrol Station! - PoloGirl
My local petrol station is being fitted with state of the art "drive off prevention" technology.

Basically, something registers that you haven't paid and a red light comes on by the exit. If you ignore this and still don't pay, something comes up from the floor and disables the rear axle.

Not sure how it works but it all sounds a bit scary and I wouldn't like to be driving Polo through there the day it goes wrong!

Scary Petrol Station! - Nash
I wonder how it copes with different height vehicles, sports car or 4x4 for example.
Scary Petrol Station! - Chad.R
Very scary indeed,

>>.... If you ignore this and still don't pay, something comes up from the floor and disables the rear axle....

Maybe it's a ploy to increase sales of non-fuel related products from the "shop" - as once the Offender's car has been "disabled" it will block the exit forcing all the other customers to have a lengthy break in the forecourt until the issue is sorted out.
Or it could mean more money to insurers/legal eagles whom will no doubt claim and counter claim against each other for the "damage" caused after such measures.

..and finally (seriously), what's going to happen to the poor guy who just happens to drive over it when it's having a "bad day"?

Scary Petrol Station! - Altea Ego
errrrrrr I dont have a rear axle. Anything that comes up from the floor is going to rip my petrol tank to bits, dumping 70 litres of diesel all over the forecourt. If it was a petrol there would be a severe fire hazzard.
Scary Petrol Station! - L'escargot
At least 70 litres of petrol would evaporate. 70 litres of the oily stuff would get everywhere ~ and stay there for some time. Shoes, trousers, car carpets, house carpets, ........ Ugh!
L'escargot by name, but not by nature.
Scary Petrol Station! - smokie
A friend was telling me last night about a well known chocolate factory production line. When an underweight box passes the sensor, a shot of air blasts it off the conveyor into a bin.

Maybe your garage could reconsider something along those lines...
Scary Petrol Station! - Sooty Tailpipes
I'd put money on in a years time there being some patches of concrete where it used to be, and four studs sticking out where the red light was mounted.
Scary Petrol Station! - Aprilia
I've seen these in the US. A set of 'alligator teeth' flip up from a recess in the road.
Scary Petrol Station! - Altea Ego
ahhhh the old tyre shredders - well thats ok then
Scary Petrol Station! - Kuang
ISTR that the police aren't allowed to use 'stinger' type devices on anything with less than four wheels, so I wonder what happens to bikers and anyone psychotic enough to drive a robin ;)
Scary Petrol Station! - pdc {P}
Which petrol station PoloGirl?
Scary Petrol Station! - Cliff Pope
How does it identify cars that haven't paid? Paid for what - newspapers, bags of coal, gas cylinders, flowers, asking for directions but didn't buy anything?
Scary Petrol Station! - Dynamic Dave
What happens if you drive out via the entrance and not the exit?
Scary Petrol Station! - PoloGirl
It's a BP so I guess it will be a national roll out...?

I'm pretty sure what I've described is right but I've got to go and feed the Micra again tomorrow so I'll have another look at the posters.

Scary Petrol Station! - Anglesey Ian
Reading this thread with interest, I wonder what our legal
poster's view is to the legality of this.

Is it correct that the filling station owners can wilfully damage (and presumably immobilise) your vehicle on the suspicion that you have not paid for goods?

Is this the vehicular equivalent of a 'citizen's arrest' (but where I would have thought that the filling station would be on risky ground) ?

Is not video evidence enough (number plate) in itself to report to the police of theft of property ?

Any comments

Scary Petrol Station! - Sooty Tailpipes
"Is not video evidence enough (number plate) in itself to report to the police of theft of property ?"

The Police are not n the slightest bit interested, because most use false plates if it's their car, or it's stolen. They will take the details, but not visit the person who the car is registered to or take any action. This isn't so much the Police being ineffectual, as the courts always accepting a fuel thief's claim that their intention was not to permanently deprive the owner of it, they just forgot to pay or forgot their wallet and were going to return another day and pay. This is fine in the eyes of the law.
Scary Petrol Station! - Sooty Tailpipes

Linking Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to petrol forecourt cameras is nothing new, however at Milton Keynes the police provide details of offenders vehicles for the ANPR vehicle database, believed to be the only such scheme in the country, and has seen a dramatic reduction in 'drive offs' during the trial period.

The Shark Forecourt Alert system uses ANPR technology with a police data base of local offenders? registration numbers. The police data base is built up by the garages informing the police of the offence and is maintained by the Forecourt Crime Unit.

It is a proactive system which alerts the staff in a petrol station kiosk of a vehicle that may not pay for fuel so they do not authorise the pump without pre-payment. It achieves this by means of an ANPR camera passing the picture of a car entering the forecourt to a computer in the kiosk. This computer identifies the registration number from the picture and checks it against a police data base. If there is a match an alarm sounds in the kiosk, the screen on a monitor freezes showing the picture, the registration in the data base and what the vehicle is known for. All this happens within 2 seconds and before the vehicle has stopped at a pump. The staff then have the option of not authorising the pump without pre-payment and to call the police. The monitor screen freezes for 10 seconds before resetting.

The police data base is not accessible by the garage as their system is fully automated. During the night the garage computer, which is connected to a phone line, dials the police computer in the Forecourt Crime Unit and uploads the day?s changes. At the same time it downloads the day?s activations passing the police the picture of the frozen screen for evidence.

The data base contains those registration numbers responsible for;
1. Making Off Without Payment (bilking).
2. Persons that claim an inability to pay (evasion of liability or deception)
3. Stolen number plates and the vehicle make and model they were stolen from.
In the future the following can be added:
4. Vehicles used in cheque and credit card fraud. 5. Stolen vehicles.

This has the potential of denying the criminal fuel to commit crime, ensures payment at the forecourt and can result in the arrest or reporting of offenders.

The Shark Forecourt Alert system is made by Genesis (UK) Ltd, and costs £5000. The police computer system has cost the Thames Valley Police £1500. There are 34 forecourts in the Milton Keynes Area and the BP Supermart, H5 Portway, and Safeway Petrol Station have purchased the system and it is up and running.

In May 2002 BP Supermart had 21 activations and on the first weekend Safeway had 9 activations. Since the installation of Shark Forecourt Alert the garages have seen a dramatic decrease of forecourt crime and not just bilkings. It is hoped that more garages will soon purchase the system and reduce crime around Milton Keynes.

PNC have been requested to start coding the markers so that in the future all cars with a bilking marker could be placed onto the system so that if a car in Devon is known for a drive off that car would not get fuel in any area with Shark Forecourt Alert.

More details can be obtained from PC3420 Derek Mundy,Forecourt Crime Unit,Milton Keynes. Tel 01908 686025

Scary Petrol Station! - malteser
Sounds a good idea to me!

Málaga Airport car park uses a camera to recognize the number plate of an entering car. The number is then printed on the ticket. On leaving the car park the exit camera scans the plate and checks that the car number and the ticket number match.
"Rude, crude and socially unacceptable"
Scary Petrol Station! - HF
My local garage is not so high-tech as this.

They have recently upgraded to sellotaping hazy photocopies of CCTV images inside the shop, of people and cars which have driven away without paying.

Mind you, we have only had the CCTV for a year or two, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.

Have nothing against the systems described above, because I resent paying an over-inflated price for fuel when others pay nothing!

However I will no doubt be the one who gets trapped by the faulty machine sometime...!

Scary Petrol Station! - HisHonour {P}
Non payers are innocent until a court says otherwise. No garage would be permitted to cause damage in the way described and would be liable for criminal damage or in a civil case for negligence. I think the HSE would have something to say about this too.

A neat idea though; I wonder what the next step will be.......
Scary Petrol Station! - Mark (RLBS)
Not paying for your fuel is not an offence*. There is no way they would be permitted to damage your vehicle. It is doubtful whether or not they would even be able to prevent you leaving.

*only intending not to pay beforehand or knowing that you are not able to pay would make it an offence.
Scary Petrol Station! - 2blackstripes
As I understand it, since earlier this year the offence of making off without payment has been upgraded to make it an arrestable offence rather than relying on the archaic sale of goods act provisions regarding putting fuel into your vehicle without first making sure you had means to pay which is what Mark referred to. The only way to really prevent "drive offs" is to adopt the system that the American stations use and make everybody pay first, the technology is largely in place in the UK but it is the petrol companies themselves who are dragging their feet.
Personally I would consider that anything which impedes traffic flow out of a petrol installation would never be allowed on grounds of safety.. although I would love to have one in my station!! (along with a 12 gauge for persistent offenders!) ;-)
Scary Petrol Station! - NARU
Whenever I've gone to a petrol station which won't turn on the pump and insists on prepayment I leave and take my business elsewhere.
Scary Petrol Station! - 2blackstripes
The time will soon come when your total lack of understanding of the problem will ensure that you have a very long drive to get fuel!
Petrol stations do not do this to amuse themselves, it is a real pain to implement, but when fuel margins are as tight as they currently are for most retailers, your fill up, however large and important you may think it to be, pales into insignificance beside the losses the stations suffer when they allow post payment and where there is a history of drive off trouble.If you consider that a 44 tonne tanker realises less than £100 gross for most retailers, I am sure you would do something similar to protect your investment.
Scary Petrol Station! - Sooty Tailpipes
I agree with Mariot, the solution is not to continually allow criminals to get away scott free and penalise everyone else, we must move away from telling people it's there own fault they were burgled for not having steel grilles on the windows, or saying people shouldn't carry a mobile phone in public etc...
Well these people who steel fom petrol stations are all out criminals should be weeded out of socity, they are a disease, and live a life on welfare handouts, stolen property, no tax and insurance, and they are allowed to, the authorities simply can't pursue them, there is a sub-society, which seems to operate above the law..
Scary Petrol Station! - NARU
Sooty - I agree - My car was hit by someone who was not insured - I understand its up to 5% of drivers now. He gave false details and despite me finding out his real name and address the police are not prosecuting as he has so many other offences that he's already paying (or not!) the maximum fine the magistrates can impose [they have to relate them to income].

I do drive legally, but am beginning to think I'm the stupid one.

I suffer from Muscular Dystrophy so its a major challenge getting around, and feel very passionately that as the law abiding citizen I shouldn't be the one who is inconvenienced by having to trail to the tills twice. Before everyone gets sympathetic I focus on the things I can do rather than the ones I can't and I've avoided the wheelchair so far! I even manage to ride a motorbike on my good days!
Scary Petrol Station! - smokie
When in Florida earlier this year I think I prepaid at every petrol station, I didn't find it that hard. Some were done at the pump, by card, and some by cash, inside. Then the machine delivered the exact amount of fuel - no odd pence.
Scary Petrol Station! - THe Growler
Absolutely. Somebody has this all ass-backwards. Pre-pay. Simple.
What loonie would invent such a technical sledge-hammer to crack such a simple nut?

I have a mate with a Chevron station in Del Ray Beach, FL. No pre-pay no gas. Works fine. Nobody complains. As for that stuff about slim margins on gas, maybe so, but he makes heaps from his shop, that's where the money is. A bit like that old chestnut the "poor farmers" argument methinks.
Scary Petrol Station! - Dynamic Dave
I have an idea. Lets drop self service pumps and have forecourt attendants. It's bound to catch on!!
Scary Petrol Station! - No Do$h
But with pre-pay, people are less likely to spend time in the shop buying overpriced sandwiches to make up the dealer\'s margins.

How will people go about brimming the tank if they don\'t know how much it will take? The pay-at-pump system operated by a well known supermarket is so unreliable that I haven\'t been abloe to use one properly in over a year, due to their card-readers always failing or requiring brand new and unmarked cards?

I\'m posting this to encourage some debate as I\'m sure there are some cracking ideas floating around on this one.
Scary Petrol Station! - pdc {P}
How will people go about brimming the tank if they don\'t
know how much it will take? The pay-at-pump system operated
by a well known supermarket is so unreliable that I haven\'t
been abloe to use one properly in over a year, due
to their card-readers always failing or requiring brand new and unmarked

And they seem to limit you to £40 per transaction, but don't stop you from putting that card back in straight away and finishing off filling the tank.

What's the point in that?
Scary Petrol Station! - THe Growler
Who cares about brimming the tank? Ten bucks, twenty bucks, just whatever you need/afford, nuclear physics this isn't.
Scary Petrol Station! - Sooty Tailpipes
I used to love the Gilbarco Eurolines at the pre-pays at ASDA, you used to have a points card to insert at the end of filling up, but if you inserted a library card or video card etc... it would give you a token to take with your card to a till next time. When it ejected the wrong card, if you reinserted it quickly, before it said "please take your card", it would say "card could not be updated" again, and print another token and so on. That served them right for all the times I had to complain about other things.
Scary Petrol Station! - AF
The ASDA near where I work has demolished its petrol station where you could either pay at the pump or at the kiosk, and replaced it with a new one where you can only pay by credit card at the pump. The new petrol station is now completely unattended.
Scary Petrol Station! - HF
I went to a different petrol station yesterday. Parked up at the filling bit, and suddenly noticed that it was actually, suddenly, since last week, a pre-pay system.

Guess you just put your money in and hope it works!

Problem for me was, that, as usual, I had hoped to get some cash out of the garage's cashpoint before filling up - and the cashpoint was out of order.

I just thanked god that I hadn't already filled up, and in that respect the prepayment thing is a very good idea. Had I filled up and THEN realised the cashpoint was out of order, I would probably have been arrested!

I think DD is right. It might be worth trying the novel idea of forecourt attendants.
Scary Petrol Station! - iw1961
To be honest these days I tend to go to supermarket pre pay pumps as I reckon my debitcredit card details are a lot more secure than handing over my card to someone in a kiosk. It\'s happened twice in the last couple of years that after buying petrol using my card, my card was cloned. The first I knew of it was when a reference to an American Porn Company appeared on my bank statement. I mean let\'s be honest I don\'t mind any one having a pink fluffy dice ....but on my money!
Scary Petrol Station! - PoloGirl
I've come to the conclusion this is all an elaborate hoax!

(By the way, it seems it punctures both your rear tyres, rather than takingout the axle, and is on both the exit and entrance.)

I was in there this morning feeding Polo, and happened to ask the woman behind the counter if they'd had to use it yet. She suddenly got all defensive and said "No, But we will be using it soon!!" then I said it would be interesting to see it work and she just looked at me really strangely and walked away. If I hadn't just paid for my petrol I'd think she thought I was seeing if I could get away without doing so!

I think the plates on the floor are just bits of metal, and the lights are always on green, even if there are people inside who haven't paid for petrol yet. I can't see how it could possibly work flawlessly, and the implications of it going wrong must be too much of a headache for BP.

Wont be trying it out though!
Scary Petrol Station! - Godfrey H {P}
PG the chap behind it was on the radio last night. From what he was saying they are not sure of their legal position so I reckon it's not in use yet and at the moment is effectively just a bluff. Hence the strange reaction from the employee at the petrol station.


Value my car