FUEL theft of parked HGVs has resulted in three arrests in North Yorkshire.

Police said Rural Taskforce officers arrested three men on suspicion of preparing to steal fuel from lorries in the county after conducting patrols of lorry parks after an increase in thefts, including diesel fuel theft.

Police said this incident occurred in the Hambleton district, but warned all HGV drivers to be vigilant when parking up their vehicles for the night.

At about 10.45pm on Friday, August 21, officers were on patrol when they noticed an Audi A5 being driven close to lorries in the car park of Thirsk Auction Mart.

The car was stopped and searched. There was a strong smell of diesel inside the vehicle, and officers found 11 empty 25-litre plastic drums packed into the boot and another four balanced on the back seat.

Three occupants, all men in their 20s from the Cleveland area, were arrested on suspicion of going equipped for theft. They have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Lorries, the contents of their large fuel tanks, and their trailer loads are often very valuable – criminals know this so will look to target vulnerable vehicles.

Proactive police patrols are continuing across North Yorkshire to protect HGVs, and drivers are being urged to take precautions such as plan to use secure lorry parks; park your lorry where you can see it, and always take your keys with you; park with the loading doors close to another vehicle or wall and when returning to your lorry, check for signs of any interference.