Drivers are being urged to check that their policy covers them for damage caused by fuel thieves, as an insurer reports a rise in claims.
The insurer Direct Line has warned motorists that not all policies cover for fuel theft.
It has also said that newer cars make traditional siphoning methods very difficult and thieves are having to resort to drilling holes in fuel tanks which can cause up to thousands of pounds of damage.
Four wheel drive cars are more likely to be targeted as they can hold more fuel around £80 worth of unleaded petrol - and the high frame makes access to the tank easier.
Head of car insurance at Direct Line Maggie Game said: "The increasing cost of fuel and the credit crunch mean thieves are going to new levels of desperation and stealing people's fuel."
In related news, Norwich Union reports that claims involving stolen catalytic converters have increased by 500 per cent in the last year.
The rise has been blamed on the fact that catalytic converters contain high value metals such as palladium and platinum.
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