Thief spotted drilling through van tanks to pinch fuel

The holes drilled into the tanks of the vans, owned by Hellesdon Leather. Inset: Director John Milton

The holes drilled into the tanks of the vans, owned by Hellesdon Leather. Inset: Director John Milton - Credit: Hellesdon Leather

A furniture company has been left unable to deliver goods after a hooded individual damaged its vans and stole fuel from their tanks.

Hellesdon Leather in Mile Cross is scrambling to get its wheels back on the road after the incident on June 7 at around 9pm.

John Milton, director of Hellesdon Leather, said: "We had a delivery arriving so at about 10am I decided to move the two vans to make room.

The thief drilled holes into two vans owned by Hellesdon Leather to steal the fuel.

The thief drilled holes into two vans owned by Hellesdon Leather to steal the fuel. - Credit: John Milton

"I got into one of the vans and noticed it was leaving a trail of oil along the forecourt.

"When I got out I saw that holes had been drilled into it so, dreading it, I went over to the other van and the same thing had indeed happened."

Mr Milton called the police to raise the issue.

A police spokesman said: "We can confirm we have received a report in relation to this.

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"The victim is due to be visited and hasn’t been spoken to yet so we can't add any more information at this time."

Mr Milton added: "I had to painstakingly go through all the CCTV until I saw it on Tuesday's footage.

"The vans are a major factor in running our business. We deal with heavy goods and deliver them to our customers.

"So depending on how long it takes to get our vans repaired it could have a major impact on our service.

John Milton, director of Hellesdon Leather, said: "It costs about £120 to fill up the vans."

John Milton, director of Hellesdon Leather, said: "It costs about £120 to fill up the vans." - Credit: John Milton

"I have a storage van I can use as an emergency vehicle but it's old."

The incident will come at a hefty price amid the ever-increasing cost of living crisis. 

Mr Milton said: "This person could have done it because of the fuel crisis or just the fact because it was easy to get to but it doesn't justify their actions.

John Milton, director of Hellesdon Leather.

John Milton, director of Hellesdon Leather. - Credit: John Milton

"We're all struggling at the moment. It costs about £120 to fill up the vans - this will just impact our overheads.

"With the vans off the road, the cost and labour of replacing the tanks could cost a thousand pounds.

"I have no idea how long it will take to get new parts - it could be weeks or months. It's very frustrating."