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We’re security guards at ‘UK’s most looted petrol station’ – brazen thieves steal in full view of staff – The Sun

Mar 17, 2023
Footage showed a masked couple ransacking the meat aisle

SECURITY guards at the “UK’s most looted petrol station” have told how brazen thieves bag their spoils in full view of staff.

Fuel giant BP’s Fourways Garage in Corby, Northamptonshire has been the scene of hundreds of shameless thefts over the last year alone.

Syed and his colleague Mirza Atalanta, 25, from Comprehensive Security ServicesCredit: Terry Harris


Footage showed a masked couple ransacking the meat aisleCredit: SWNS

But guards are now taking action, with officers warning would-be shoplifters “we’re watching you”.

It follows a spate of thefts of items at the M&S Simply Food store inside the fuel hub.

Footage that surfaced online last month showed a masked couple ransacking the meat aisle.

Shocked onlookers compared scenes to the popular TV show Supermarket Sweep.

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They emptied shelves of groceries into carrier bags as staff watched on helplessly.

There were 188 shoplifting, violence, robbery, criminal damage and other police incidents at the site off the Cottingham Road roundabout last year.

Crimes at the garage have quadrupled since 2020, when just 47 offences were recorded.

Court records show that one woman, Eleanor Hunter, stole from the store 14 times in three months, getting away with items worth more than £2,000.

She pleaded guilty and was handed a 24-week jail term.

Cops have had enough, and went as far as publicly bashing BP bosses for not stepping up to stop shoplifters.

Cambridgeshire Police described the situation as “frustrating”.

BP, which owns the store, finally employed security guards to put an end to the spree on February 20.

One of the two officers, Syed Bukhari, 26, stopped a shoplifter in his tracks within hours of taking up his post.

He told The Sun Online: “There are a lot of thieves here but now we are watching their every move.

“We have body cameras, we are vigilant and we are here to secure our customers and our community, and not to harm anyone.”

Syed and his colleague Mirza Atalanta, 25, from Comprehensive Security Services, said simply being challenged by a security officer stopped many thieves in their tracks.

He added: “On our first day of duty a suspicious-looking guy was putting something in his jacket, it turned out to be a bag of potatoes, and when we confronted him he just threw the bag and ran away.

“Two days later we spotted a lady and observed her as she was stealing some food items.

“We challenged her, grabbed a basket and asked her to put the goods in and pay for them. She did. That was a result.”

His colleague Mirza added: “This is a very busy shop, it’s open all day until 11pm and there has been a lot of stealing and shoplifting.

“This is the first time security guards have been working here to put a stop to it.”

He said that a night patrol had previously been operating at the station.

Manager Reece Cooke said BP brought in two security guards to tackle crime.

He said: “Thefts aren’t going to happen again with these two here.

“There are too many shoplifters in the area. It is a rural area, off a roundabout with passing customers and regular customers.

“There was no security  before so we did have a bit of an issue with shoplifting.

“I’ve worked here for five to six years, and we try our best.”

Customers united to praise staff, with one saying: “The manager is superb. He’s up there with the best and this is a well run shop.”

Yet community police officers still regularly drop in.

One of the team, PCSO of 14 years Christopher Asante-Ampaduh, said: “We pop in all times of the day and night as part of our gathering local intelligence on crime rates.

“It is a good, safe place to shop. Nothing is perfect but there is a good community spirit here.

“These guys have had enough of a kicking over all these crimes. There is a team of dedicated officers looking out for prolific offenders and prosecuting them.

“There is a list of offenders we are working through.”

His colleague Anthony Greeting added: “It’s a busy place on a busy thoroughfare and people come from all over to buy petrol and to shop.

“Most customers are honest, hard working people and respected families but you always get a few bad ones.

“It’s good to see a new team of security guards on the front door.”

Locals have claimed the petrol station is a soft touch for criminals and drug users who steal food to sell for their next fix.

One said: “The crack cocaine users can go in, get enough to get their money for their next fix and do it again the next day.

“This is fuelling a crime wave and in turn is fuelling Corby’s drugs industry. These are not soft drugs – it’s crack and heroin.

“The police are obviously doing everything they can and are down there multiple times every day – but they understandably cannot put an officer there permanently.’

Police met with company bosses several times to urge them to employ security guards, but their pleas fell on deaf ears until last month.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesperson said: “Over the past 18 months, our officers in Corby have been working extremely hard to try and tackle the issues at the BP Fourways Garage.

“This work has included multiple arrests which have resulted in court appearances and convictions, multiple meetings with BP, and the issuing of crime prevention advice to the store and the company themselves.

“We are very frustrated with the situation. We would urge BP to work with us to tackle this issue as it’s imperative that this store becomes a safer place for the staff and its customers.”

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A BP spokesperson said: “The safety of our staff and customers is our number one priority. We support all staff at all our sites with measures including staff training, CCTV and security personnel depending on the need.

“However we don’t discuss details of specific security arrangements at individual sites. We are working closely with the police to support their work to arrest and prosecute these criminals.”

Security guards have warned would-be thieves at a BP garage "we are watching"


Security guards have warned would-be thieves at a BP garage “we are watching”Credit: Terry Harris
Police urged bosses to employ security guards


Police urged bosses to employ security guardsCredit: Terry Harris

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