Local Police are appealing for help from the public as they attempt to finally identify a serial fuel thief. They believe the same man has been 'making off without payment' for just over a decade and is responsible for over 100 offences.

The man first came to the attention of the police back in April 2002 and since then he has been linked to more than 100 offences in which over £6000 of petrol or diesel has been stolen.

The thefts have been committed at many different service stations in the south of the county and the stations targeted include those run by large national corporations and also smaller local businesses.

However, the offences West Mercia Police have recorded officially are only the ones that have directly been linked to him and police officers believe it is highly likely the same man has also been carrying out a significant number of offences in other parts of West Mercia as well as neighbouring force areas such as Gwent, Gloucestershire and Dyfed-Powys.

Inspector Neil Whitchurch, who is based in Hereford, said: "Over the course of the past decade we have tried to identify this man in a number of different ways but at the moment he continues to prove elusive.

"He has become quite a notorious figure for officers locally and he's a fairly famous face on the Herefordshire Territorial Policing Unit because he has been offending for so long.

"I think we've all had enough of discovering new offences he's committed and therefore we're desperately keen to put a name to his face.

"Over the years he has committed offences driving any number of different makes of vehicle - including Audis, Vauxhalls, Peugeots and Volkswagens - and in almost all the cases the vehicles have been displaying false number plates.

"The man himself always wears a hat when stealing the fuel so it is more difficult to identify him and the three images we have released today show three different types of hat he wears.

"We have been liaising with our colleagues from neighbouring forces - and other Policing Units within West Mercia - and it appears certain this man has been committing many offences in other areas too and that is why we are so keen to finally identify him and bring him to justice.

"This man has been helping himself to petrol and then driving off without paying for it for many, many years and it's about time he was stopped.

"With that in mind I would ask anyone who believes they may recognise the man from the images we have released today to contact us as soon as possible so we can track him down and speak to him about these offences.

Anyone with information about this man, or the offences he has committed, is asked to contact police in Hereford on either 101 or 0300 333 3000. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you'd rather pass on information without getting directly involved yourself."