Bowser bandits committed 160 petrol thefts in Wyndham between April last year and March this year, according to data from the Crime Statistics Agency.

This compares to 145 fuel thefts recorded by Wyndham police during the previous 12 months.

The statistics included petrol, diesel and LPG gas thefts at locations across Wyndham, including 24-hour convenience stores, service stations and other retail outlets.

Within the April 2017 to March 2018 timeframe, Little River notched up the highest number of fuel thefts in the municipality with 49 individual offences, followed by Laverton North with 36 thefts.

There was also 16 fuel thefts in Hoppers Crossing, 15 in Wyndham Vale, 15 in Truganina, 13 in Werribee and 12 in Tarneit.

There were just four petrol thefts in Point Cook, and none reported in Williams Landing, Laverton or Sanctuary Lakes.

Between January and December last year, Victoria Police received 5500 reports of petrol drive-offs across the state.

Last month, VicRoads announced it would launch a trial program to help crack down on petrol drive-offs.

CCTV cameras will be installed at locations such as fuel outlets and shopping centres, to help catch motorists who do not pay for fuel or boomgate tolls.

The cameras will scan the vehicle’s number plates and upload them to a database for approved users to access.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said CCTV was “a very important tool used by police when investigating crime”.

“Local police work closely with industry stakeholders in relation to crime prevention,” she said.

The spokeswoman said petrol station owners and employees should report the theft of petrol, or any suspicious behavior, to local police.

“Even if an offence has not occurred, any information provided could be vital to a broader investigation,” she said.

Anyone with information about fuel thefts can contact local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.