SMS trial to help police 'de-text' fuel drive-off offences

POLICE will be giving fuel drive-off offenders the benefit of the doubt with a trial of a new SMS and email alerts system to be rolled out this month.

The Queensland Police Service today announced the trial will see messages prompt owners of vehicles involved in fuel drive-off offences to return to the station and pay for the fuel.

The service believes it will reduce the need for police intervention.

Organisational Capability Command Acting Superintendent Sharee Cumming said people leaving service stations and failing to pay for fuel was a significant concern for the QPS.

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"Driving off without paying for fuel is a criminal offence," Acting Superintendent Cumming said.

"This can happen for various reasons including being distracted at the pump and then forgetting to pay before driving away.

"The trial is designed to encourage people involved in a fuel drive-off, either inadvertently or on purpose, to pay for their fuel which will reduce the need of our frontline officers to commence investigations, into these type of matters, in the first instance."

The QPS will identify itself in messages issued, which will also include the vehicle registration number, the date and time of the incident, and a prompt for the recipient to contact the service station.

Police advised the messages will not include attachments or hyperlinks, and would not request the recipient to provide bank account details, PayPal information, personal financial details, or request direct payments.

Email and SMS recipients who were not the driver of the vehicle at the time will need to contact the correct person and ask them to finalise payment to avoid fines and potential prosecution.

Likewise, recipients whose vehicles were stolen, who no longer own the vehicle or remember the service station will be urged to contact police.

See more details online here.