Thieves target petrol
By ADRIAN MILLER
WITH the mammoth rise in petrol prices over the last few months, many motorists are feeling the pinch and are doing whatever they can to reduce their fuel bill.
But some Maclean motorists have found the costs even harder to bear after becoming the victims of petrol thieves.
According to Maclean Neighbourhood Watch president Bob Liddiard, thieves had attempted to siphon petrol from the fuel tanks of around 20 motorists in the past fortnight.
Mr Liddiard said most of the vehicles were parked in the area around the Maclean District Hospital and Mareeba Nursing Home where people park and leave their cars for the day.
"They are the two main places where it is happening," he said.
"It is the way the cars are parked ? they are parked out of sight, out of mind ? that lends themselves to it."
Mr Liddiard said even though it was difficult to steal petrol, a worrying trend had developed.
"Fortunately it is very difficult to siphon petrol out of cars these days," he said.
"But some of the people are going to the extreme lengths of punching a hole into the petrol tank to get to it.
"It's not the usual criminals who are doing this, it's the opportunistic ones.
"They see the opportunity to do it and they do it, that's it."
Mr Liddiard said this was the first time he had encountered such a problem in the Maclean area and blamed it on the high cost of petrol.
"It is a serious thing," he said.
"The price of petrol is making them do it I suppose, and we are concerned about it."
Mr Liddiard warned people to be vigilant when parking their cars in the area.