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Police hunt for fuel thief who dragged petrol station worker across road

A PETROL station worker dragged across the road by a fuel thief has left her job following the assault.

Ragu Anna, the owner of the Esso on Cathedral Road, is sad that after working together for five years, Diane’s departure was soured by the incident.

Mr Anna said: “Diane finished here in the middle of the week she’s now moved to Swansea – although she planned to leave months ago.

“It was hard to see her go. She did a good thing and it was a great risk she took. It put off that guy as he’s stopped doing it for now.

“I said to her whenever she wants a job I will give her one.”

Police are continuing their search for the driver of the car, which was used in a string of fuel thefts across Cardiff.

Mr Anna was delighted to hear the police have seized the car in West Close, Butetown on 19 February after it collided with two vehicles on Ninian Park Road, Riverside, three days earlier.

“It would be better if they found the person who did it. He probably thinks he got away with it and will try out a different car,” he said.

“I hope they find him so I can sleep better.”

Diane was left shaken after trying to stop the driver from making off with £80 of diesel.

The garage worker tried to stop him by grabbing his keys but the driver managed to snatch the ignition key from her and started the car.

Diane clung to the car door as it drove off but eventually let go when she was in the middle of the road.

The car  – a dark green Mazda – was not taxed, insured or registered and was involved in three other drive-offs last month at Morrisons petrol stations in Barry, Llanishen and Penylan.

Police have yet to make any arrests in relation to the incident but have carried out a forensic examination of the car.

Diane, who has worked at the shop for five years, is in shock after the incident which happened on February 6 and did not want her surname published for fear of repercussions.

“When the car pulled up he was obscured by the pump. He got out with his hood up and went to fill up a can in the boot,” she said.

“I was suspicious when he opened the boot but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and authorised the pump.”

Diane went outside to see what the driver was doing to check if her suspicion was well founded.

“I told him I was just checking what he was doing and he said the diesel was for his farm,” she said.

She watched him while he filled up the can and confronted him when he got back into the drivers seat without paying.

She added: “He told me he was just getting some money and I realised what was happening and told my colleague to call the police.

“I don’t know what took over me but we had a scuffle and I grabbed his keys. While I got his key ring he managed to pull off the ignition key.”

The driver then started the car and drove off while Diane was holding onto the door. She was dragged into the middle of the road before she let go of the door handle.

She was left shaken after the door hit her in the incident. Drive-offs are a common occurrence at the garage according to Diane and many of the cars use fake licence plates.

Diane said: “I don’t feel like a hero – I feel angry that I trusted him. I have a history of anxiety and this has made things worse.

“I take pride in my work and enjoy it but now I feel like a little light has gone out. I don’t want to work in a garage anymore. I’ve had my fill of dishonest people.

“I also feel stupid as he could’ve had a weapon, god knows what would’ve happened if I got the ignition key off him.”

Diane is frustrated at people underestimating the demands of working in a petrol station. She believes people think petrol station staff are uneducated and receive unwarranted abuse.

Protection for workers is something Diane is adamant about and wants to see more of in the future.

Mr Anna said drive-offs are just one challenging aspect of working in a garage.

“We have 1,500 customers a day and it’s very hard to know what one person is going to do,” he said.

“I’ve been in this industry for nearly 25 years and I have known drive-offs all my life. I don’t think it is going to stop.

“When people come to the petrol stations they want to be served straight away and that puts pressure on the cashiers meaning they lose their concentration. People have to be a bit more patient.”

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone with information to call 101 and to quote the reference number 1600041848.

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