Driving off, or fueling up and leaving without paying, is a problem many fuel station operators face daily. To combat this increasing form of crime, several largest fuel station operators have implemented an advanced security system that uses a DIGIFORT VMS (Video Management System) and ANPR technology to alert offenders when they arrive on-site — before they even lift the pump hose.

Although there are still some fuel stations where forecourt service is provided, self-service stations are more common. They offer the right amount of convenience and freedom for motorists to fill their vehicles on their own, pay for the chosen fuel via various methods and then continue their journey. However, ever since the introduction of self-service fuel stations, operators and staff had to face the dreaded phenomenon known as drive-offs, a form of theft in which motorists drive away without paying for their fuel. 

Fuel stations without forecourt service, which comprise the majority of New Zealand fuel sites, are especially prone to this type of crime, but even at those places where forecourt service is provided, the staff needs to stay extremely vigilant to prevent unpaying customers from leaving without paying. This prevents the fuel station staff from performing other, more important tasks, not to mention that if they fail to recover the fuel theft, the service station has to face severe financial damages. In 2016, prior to rolling out Focus Digital Security’s Carmen-based ANPR technology, Z Energy alone reported that they were losing around $1.5 million per year as a result of drive-offs.


To combat the phenomenon of drive-offs, several of New Zealand’s largest fuel operators have implemented a solution that prevents fuel thieves from committing the crime even before exiting their vehicle. The selected computer-vision technology system was pioneered by Focus Digital Security Solutions, New Zealand’s most experienced ANPR solution provider and a major reseller of Adaptive Recognition’s advanced security hardware and software.

Aside from protecting over 3,000 fuel lanes throughout 50+ towns and cities nationwide, Focus Digital’s custom-designed Fuel-Theft Solutions are designed around DIGIFORT's Video Management System, also comprises of

  • 300+ digital network video recorders 
  • 500+ client workstations
  • 4,000+ VMS device licenses 
  • 3,000+ network cameras 
  • POS integration 
  • Fuel Server integration. 

What makes this new system unique is that it works in perfect unison with Auror, the Retail Crime Intelligence platform used by New Zealand’s and the world’s largest and best retailers to reduce crime, loss, and harm. On this intelligence platform, any retail crime can be reported in a fast and efficient manner. Thanks to this seamless integration, the system can detect a license plate and match it against the Vehicle of Interest (VoI) list of the retailer. This list comprises of vehicles that have been involved in prior non-payment or crime incidents at that retailer. When the plate matches the VoI list, Auror instantly generates an on-site alert, preventing crime before it can be committed. Auror can even determine if the detected plate has been registered as stolen, or is a vehicle of interest for Police.

This is how the system works.
ON TOP: manual reporting of drive-off via Auror.
ON BOTTOM: automated reporting of drive-off via Auror using ANPR technology – if no prepayment is involved.

Image courtesy of Auror.

Interestingly, the solution also takes care of first-time offenders. When such an offender drives off without paying for fuel, their license plate is registered by law enforcement databases. Auror offers a debt recovery solution to recover the missing fuel payment and ensure that the first-time offender has the opportunity to repay the amount should the drive-off be the result of a genuine oversight, or think twice before attempting to re-offend.

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