One surprising outcome of limited police resources is that officers will no longer treat non-payment of fuel at forecourts as a crime.

That’s as far as Devon & Cornwall police are concerned, anyway.

In 2014, they received around 1,600 reports of customers leaving garages without paying and frankly, the force has enough on its hands ensuring the protected status of Cornish pasties is not stolen away in these troubling Brexit times.

It turns out that quite a lot of people accidentally don’t pay for their fuel, but they are more than happy to make amends after a suited and booted police officer knocks on their door to inform them they have committed a criminal offence.

Anyway, most garages use CCTV cameras and can do the police’s job for them, which must fill the attendants’ hearts with delight.

It’s not just Devon & Cornwall that has a problem with non-payment. According to a survey by confused.com, across the country in 2015 there were 25,560 confused.com people who didn’t pay for their fuel.

However, not all were accidental. More than one in 10 (12%) ‘pump and run’ culprits admitted they did it knowing full well they had no means of paying.

Why, asked confused.com, are so many people happy to commit this crime?

Apparently, it’s not because some police forces are so hard up they are being forced to revise their definition of a crime, but possibly because fuel is getting a bit pricey.

“Rising costs of petrol could be a factor to consider with fuel prices having risen steadily over the last three months,” says confused.com.

“Yet despite these rising costs, petrol theft is a criminal offence and there are severe repercussions including being arrested and charged for theft.”

Except in those places where it isn’t.

If you have committed a motoring offence contact our specialist motoring solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066