Serial fuel thief pays the price after dramatic M62 arrest – Hull Live

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The thief was snared after a careful operation as police reveal what life is like for its Road Crime Team
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A serial fuel thief has been snared by police on a busy motorway who had been targeting petrol stations across Hull and York.
The significant arrest came as the Humberside force gave an insight into the daily lives of officers in the Road Crime Team (RCT). The team do not just tackle vehicle-related crime but also drug dealing.
The force has charted how officers spend a typical 12-hour shift which combines some fairly mundane work with a smattering of high drama. Find out how one day recently unfolded for the team.
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Noon – The team arrives and starts to monitor the latest force intel to see which suspect vehicles have been active. As they will be working in areas that border other forces, they check in with their colleagues to make sure they can be in communication should any vehicles stray into a neighbouring force area.
The RCT officers mention a vehicle that has been making their ears prick up so far this week. A car has been visiting a number of petrol stations, filling up and making off without payment. It has been doing this on a regular basis in Hull, the East Riding and York.
Sgt Matt Hemingway details the amount of intel and patience jobs like this require. He spent a while scouring CCTV in areas surrounding the targeted petrol stations and noticed the vehicle stopped before and after stealing the petrol to change its number plates.
12.45pm – PC Paul Stamp leads the day’s briefing. He mentions the car that has been making off without payment. This cloned vehicle has just pinged on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology and it is believed to have just made off without payment again.
1.20pm – The team drives towards Goole. Other members of the Roads Crime Team, Rich and Jon, are both single crewed so pick up local officers as support.
“Our daily business can involve looking at jobs people want us to do for intel and arrests,” says Matt. “We will look at the intel to see which vehicles are about and then prioritise them.
“While we will and do assist with ongoing incidents, we’re not beholden to the radio so we are afforded the time to put in the required effort needed to find our targets. We work as a team and always make sure we go together, so we’re ready to support each other at any given moment.”
1.40pm – Matt and Paul are double crewed so immediately head out to a local village to check whether a suspect vehicle is at the address intel formerly suggested it would be.
“We’re looking for a vehicle that we believe is connected to the supply of drugs in and around the Goole area,” says Matt. “We’re making sure the intel we have is still current.”
“He’s been quiet for a few days, which is unusual,” adds Paul. “We have systems that link up with neighbouring forces, so we can usually tell if it has been moved on.”
A search of the village comes up empty but other intel suggests it may be at an address in Goole.
2.05pm – Returning to Goole, a seemingly non-descript car turns down a street. Whilst this car may not have aroused the suspicions of many, Matt and Paul have years of experience and their instinct proves correct. A search of the system reveals intel for drug dealing in another town.
The unit stops the car down a back street. A search of the occupants and the vehicle comes back negative, but from the reaction of the occupants it is one to keep an eye on.
Matt says: “Our job can sometimes be about the disruption of criminality. By conducting an intel-based stop-search, if those people and that vehicle are involved in the supply of drugs, we have shown we are aware.”
2.25pm – As the search is coming to a close, ANPR pings up to show the vehicle that is wanted for making off without payment is heading west on the A63. The blue lights flare and sirens wail as we rush to North Cave.
2.40pm – Matt and Paul park up on the motorway bridge, whilst Jon and Rich have the slip roads covered. Within seconds, the suspect vehicle passes under the bridge and the Roads Crime Team cars re-enter the motorway.
2.50pm – The car is brought to a stop near Goole. A search reveals the plates used in the fuel thefts in the boot. A check of the VIN also reveals that the vehicle is using cloned plates to hide its identity.
Not only is the car driving on cloned plates, but it also swaps its plates to commit crime – a double clone. The driver and passenger are both arrested on suspicion of theft and going equipped to steal.
3.10pm – As the vehicle has been stopped on the motorway, the next priority is to get all vehicles off the M62 and to safety.
3.30pm – The arrested people are put into the back of separate cars each with an officer and escorted to Clough Road custody facility in Hull. On the way, Paul rings the petrol stations to get CCTV sent to him to use as evidence.
5.50pm – CCTV from one of the petrol stations arrives and shows a man who looks very similar to the arrested driver. Intel suggests a drug dealer from out of the force area may be making a visit, so that is added to the list of vehicles of interest for the evening. Drug dealing and County Lines are just two of the activities that the Roads Crime Team deals with on a regular basis.
“We tackle many types of crime that people wouldn’t expect,” says Matt. “Yes, we tackle the people who bring drugs into our area, but we also go after car thieves and help with other investigations that don’t have an obvious connection with roads.”
7pm – The team heads out to gather further evidence for the making off without payment series, while ensuring everything is organised for interviewing the suspects in the morning.
10pm – While carrying out further intel checks, a car screeches past. The registration is noted and research carried out. It is thought that it could be a new vehicle for the person whose car hasn’t moved in days due to their similar methods of road use.
The team patrols the area for this new vehicle, while carrying out further checks on ANPR and other systems. Whilst Matt is driving, Paul keeps an eye out on the vehicles that pass to see if any show up as vehicles of interest. It looks like all is still in Goole, so the team returns to base.
Midnight – The shift draws to a close and it’s time to reflect on the day. The arrests for the fuel thefts result in the driver being charged with multiple counts of making off without payments. He was also charged with four counts of disqualified driving and four counts of driving without insurance. The passenger was released without any further action.
“I’m really pleased with that,” says Matt. “It may not seem like a big crime to some, but we look out for series of offences and try to stop them before they become other things.
“We’re eternal optimists in this team. We’re always thinking we’re going to get what we’re looking for.”
Fuel thief Stefan Cristian-Hasan, 28, from Hull, appeared at court the following day and pleaded guilty to all offences. He was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison and was disqualified from driving for two years.
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