A CHEEKY gypsy used a stolen corporate fuel card to fill up his fleet of wagons and pick up trucks with pounds 1,000 of petrol, it has been claimed.
The fraudster allegedly used the card, which belonged to a van driver from a telecoms firm, more than 20 times in one day.
When staff at a Birmingham garage questioned him about it he threatened them with violence, according to a fuel industry insider.
The source said: "Until last year the cards did not have pin numbers on so he could fake the signature."
"It had been used more than 20 times in one day and when the van driver was questioned about it he confessed he had lost the card.
"It seems a traveller had found it, and was using it to refuel all kinds of vehicles.
"The staff did not report it because they were too scared."
The source added that police eventually caught up with the thief after he made a final run on the pumps in December.
One witness said: "We heard a load of them were stealing fuel, so we thought we would go and have a look on our lunch break.
"It was December 1. I remember my mate filled his car up because he had just been paid.
"We went straight up to the garage and when we got there the forecourt was full of dodgy motors and caravans.
"Soon after that swarms of the old bill arrived and nicked them all.
"I spoke to the cashier who said they had threatened him if he said anything."
The fuel industry is facing a massive rise in the levels of theft due to its the soaring costs.
Research by PetrolPrices.com, a fuel price comparison site, shows these types of thefts have risen by 50 per cent in the last 12 months
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