THIEVES stole a set of number plates from a car — then stole petrol just a few minutes later.

The thieves took the registration plates from a Nissan Qashqai parked in Albert Avenue, Prestwich, at about 11.30am last Wednesday.

Ten minutes later, CCTV cameras at Tesco petrol station in Valley Park Road, Prestwich, captured the plates on another vehicle, whose driver filled with £57.63 of petrol and left without paying.

A Prestwich Police spokesman said: “Number-plate theft is a relatively new crime and something we are seeing more and more.

“Thieves will steal them, attach them to other vehicles and carry out a quick fuel theft or — worse — a violent robbery before discarding the plates.

“However, there are measures you can take to prevent your vehicle from being targeted.

“Tamper-proof screws can be fitted for free to your plates and make it almost impossible for them to be removed.”

The screws can be fitted free at Grimshaws Garage in Bury New Road, Prestwich.