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CRIME

Rising prices at France’s forecourts sparks jump in fuel thefts

As the price of fuel continues to rise sharply across France, thefts of petrol and diesel from vehicles’ tanks are rising rapidly, authorities have warned.

Rising prices at France's forecourts sparks jump in fuel thefts
Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP

Gendarmes in Brittany have said that they now receive reports of vehicles being siphoned daily.

“This phenomenon has been on the increase for several weeks. The vehicles most affected are those with large diesel tanks,” officers told France Bleu Breizh Izel.

Thieves also siphoned the tanks of vehicles belonging to the charity Restos du cœur in Perpignan.

MAP Where to find the cheapest fuel in France

“It’s really desperate. Our trucks are all marked with the colours of the Restos du cœur. The thieves knew exactly who they were targeting,” said Beatrice Pansa, president of the Restos du cœur in the Pyrénées-Orientales, to France Bleu Roussillon. 

Fuel prices in France were already on the rise but have soared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, reaching €2 a litre in most areas with prices predicted to rise even higher.

The French government will present next week its plan to protect French businesses and consumers from the economic effects of the war in Ukraine, and the ensuing sanctions against Russia.

READ ALSO How will France protect its economy from the effects of the Ukraine war? 

HGVs at rest areas, business premises where fuel is stored and farms are prime targets, as criminals are able to siphon off 1,000 litres of fuel from larger tanks within a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, a tanker driver in the Eure was the victim of an attempted robbery by four people who tried to force him to stop his vehicle.

Patrols have been stepped up in towns and cities across the country, while the gendarmerie has 250 security schemes to offer property protection advice to companies and individuals. This free service includes advice on protecting fuel stores.

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UKRAINE

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

The French government aims to have its natural gas storage reserves at full capacity by autumn, with European countries bracing for supply cuts from major supplier Russia as the Ukraine war continues, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

“We are ensuring the complete filling of our storage capacities, aiming to be close to 100 percent by early autumn,” and France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship, Borne said.

France is much less dependant on Russian gas than its neighbours, and announced earlier this week that it has not received any Russian gas by pipeline since June 15th.

Meanwhile Germany moved closer to rationing natural gas on Thursday as it raised the alert level under an emergency plan after Russia slashed supplies to the country.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at a press conference.

French PM Borne on Thursday also confirmed that the bouclier tarifaire (price shield) will remain in pace until the end of 2022 – this freezes the price of household gas and limits rises in electricity bills for homes to four percent.

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