A spate of Ramsbottom car fuel theft has put local drivers at risk as they drive on the road, often without knowledge of any damage.
The damage, which is primarily dealt to Vauxhall Corsas, is done in an attempt to siphon fuel for use by the thieves.
It is thought that most of these incidents occur when the cars are parked outside the owner’s homes at night.
Drivers are often unaware of the problem until they fill their car or drive up a hill, causing fuel to spill out over the floor.
James Linton, 39, of Paddock Garage in Ramsbottom, agreed that the instances have been increasing.
He said: “I’ve had at least six or seven in my garage over the last 12 months, and that’s just me.
“it’s a safety issue, in theory someone walking past with a cigarette could make it all go up in flames.”
He also noted that it could cause a road traffic accident if drivers who are unaware of the damage were leaving fuel on the roads.
He said: “Most people don’t notice until they go up a hill and the fuel drains out behind them. If someone is driving behind them, there’s a risk of an RTO.
“Also, the contamination to the drains. If there’s 20 litres in the car, and they only have a three litre bucket, that waste goes straight over the road and down the drain.”
Karen Salisbury, 56, of Butler Street, and her son, 20, have both had their Corsas damaged over the past few months.
She said: “I was filling up my car and I could smell petrol, which I didn’t think was strange. After I paid I went back to my car and there was a crowd around.”
After taking it to Mr Linton, Karen found out that the pipe had been cut by a stanley knife.
Mother-of-four Karen, who runs a mobile foot clinic, said the vandalism was particularly worrisome as it affected her business.
She said: “How do you stop it? That’s the problem. Once you’ve had it done you’re vulnerable to have it done again.”
As well as Karen’s experiences, her neighbours have also allegedly suffered the same crime a couple of weeks ago.
PC Angela Atkinson, Area Beat Manager for Ramsbottom said: “It has been brought to our attention this week that two vehicles in the Ramsbottom area have had fuel siphoned most likely by way of drilling hole and cutting a fuel pipe in the vehicle.
“Unfortunately the police have not been informed of most of these crimes therefore a pattern has not been identified.”
Those with any information on the spate of Ramsbottom car fuel theft should contact the police at 101.