FOLLOWING several petrol thefts in the area, Police in Barry have said that more and more drivers are turning to theft to escape the high price of fuel.

However, South Wales Police are warning that the criminals behind this practice pose a much wider problem for everyday motorists.

PC Nicola Owen explained: “Thieves targeting fuel pumps are also targeting number plates in an effort to pin their crime on other drivers.

”We have issued this CCTV imagery of a suspected fuel thief that is wanted in connection with theft of fuel from Morrisons in Barry on May, 3 at around 1.30pm. The silver Ford Focus he was driving was fitted with two different numbers plates when he filled up with fuel and drove off without paying."

Inspector Chris Owen gave more details saying: “Thieves steal, or fraudulently clone, a number plate of an existing road user.

"They then attach those plates to other cars, sometimes a very similar make or model to the original vehicle, and use it to commit various crimes including petrol theft.

"Petrol theft may be the focus but it’s much more involved than that.

“People don’t realise what a serious crime it is if their number plates go missing, or are copied, until they get a parking fine or their insurer says they were involved in an accident when in fact it’s down to someone else using their number plates.”

Anyone with information in connection to the CCTV imagery should contact South Wales Police on 101 quoting reference number 1400152024. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their website