Workers at gas stations in various areas are complaining about the increasing number of motorists who fill their tank and simply drive away without paying.

Despite the cameras installed at all petrol pumps around Kuwait, some drivers dare to leave without paying. According to a worker at a gas station in Daiya, this is happening on a daily basis. "We work shifts, so my working hours change, but I have faced thieves who drive away without paying in all shifts. This scenario repeats daily, if not with me, then with other workers," he told Kuwait Times.

The station manager explained that the company deducts any financial shortfalls from the worker's salary, which is later reimbursed if the thief is caught. "When someone drives away without payment, we get their plate number from the cameras and report it to the police. When they are caught and pay up, it will be transferred to the account of the worker. This procedure may take two months or more," he pointed out.

"I have been working in this station for about three years, and many of such incidents have happened with me. It happens about two or three times a month. One of the highest bills was of a woman in a jeep who filled up with petrol worth over KD 20 and drove away," a worker at a fuel station in Shuwaikh said.

Workers at a gas station in Salwa have also faced similar experiences. "Almost every week during my shift, there is a vehicle driving away without paying. I noticed that most of these incidents happen in the night shift. Sometimes drivers find they don't have cash to pay, and the station doesn't accept credit cards, so they leave their civil ID to bring money. These people always return and pay," he said.

Lawyer Aziz Al-Sayed noted such thieves may be sentenced to up to three years in prison. "Driving away without paying is considered a misdemeanor, as this theft was committed without breaking in, so the thief will be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine. The company of the fuel station will receive the stolen amount, in addition to compensation for the harm caused by this illegal act," he explained.

Lawyer Khaled Al-Juwaisri added that this act may even be classified as a crime with a harsher sentence if the station from which the thief drove away without paying is a public station or the government has shares in it. "This would be considered as stealing public funds no matter the amount. It's the same as stealing a revenue stamp."

By Nawara Fattahova