‘Cruel’ theft of 30,000 litres of fuel jeopardises future of family-run business as Portsmouth Truckstop fears that it might have to shut down
STAFF at a Portsmouth truckstop targeted by crooks who stole £45,000 worth of fuel fears that the theft could mean the family-run business will be forced to shut down.
The theft of 30,000 litres of diesel from the Portsmouth Truckstop on Walton Road, Farlington, was caught on CCTV in the early hours of the morning on Saturday.
Lewis O’Donnell, 27, is the son of manager Dave and has worked at the truckstop since he left school at the age of 16.
He said: ‘It’s going to have a big impact, particularly if the supplier doesn’t arrange a payment plan with us. It could mean we have to shut the business down.
‘Discussions are ongoing now.’
The fuel crisis has already hit the business, as petrol panic-buying across Portsmouth led to stations being forced to close their forecourts due to shortages.
Lewis added: ‘Our pumps have been down for a while even before the theft.
‘We reckon it was all pre-planned by professionals - 30,000 litres, that’s a whole lorryful.
‘All through the pandemic we were doing food packages for the drivers who can’t get out, and then we get hit by this, it just goes to show that life can be so cruel.’
This is not the first time that Portsmouth Truckstop has been targeted by thieves, added Lewis: ‘We have had diesel go missing before but we don’t know exactly what happened that time.
‘This time, we have it all on CCTV.’
However, the team at the truckstop have already been contacted by members of the public who say that they are setting up a fundraising page to help the business recover from the blow.
Hampshire Constabulary are investigating the theft, but Lewis said: ‘It’s looking highly unlikely that they’ll catch the culprits.’
A police spokeswoman said: ‘We are investigating all lines of enquiry available to us to identify those responsible and we would ask anyone with information about this incident to call us on 101, quoting 44210390323.’
Portsmouth Truckstop remains open today.
Lewis said: ‘We are open because we’re a cafeteria and we still have facilities for everyone to use, and we’re still getting full overnight with lorry drivers - just they can’t fill up here.’