THIEVES have been stealing number plates, fixing them to other vehicles and fleeing from petrol stations without paying, say police.
Wrexham town centre inspector Paul Wycherley says there has been four incidents in the last week, when plates have been stolen from vehicles, with the intention of being used to steal fuel.
He said: “We have had four reports of number plates being stolen recently. What has been happening is that people have been unscrewing the plates from one vehicle, and then screwing them on to another.
“Some are then going to petrol stations and filling up, then driving off without paying. One stole £50 worth of fuel from a local garage. We have alerted our Forecourt Watch to be vigilant and already we have good video evidence which is being investigated.”
One garage owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said that although they have not been victim to this crime, they always have to be alert.
He said: “The police often ring us up within 25 minutes or half-an-hour of a vehicle being stolen and we note the details so we are aware of it.”
The theft of plates has taken place in various areas around town.
One occurred in Oxford Street, between 10am and 5pm on Sunday, another was stolen from a vehicle in Trewelyn Close, between 4pm on Friday and 7.30pm on Saturday.
On August 20, a plate was stolen from a vehicle in Pen y Bryn between 1pm and 6pm, and a plate has also been taken from a vehicle on Berse Road.
“This is something we are working with the community on – so if anyone has any information, I urge them to get in touch with us,” said Insp Wycherley.
He added that steps can be taken by motorists to protect their vehicles.
“We can also send out crime prevention packs which include a set of ‘unscrewable’ screws, although once they are fixed onto the vehicle, you will not be able to unscrew them. The packs are free to anyone who wants them.”
Anyone with any information about the number plate thefts is asked to call police on 101. The crime reference number is R132 481.