A man in his ute got more than he bargained for when he failed to pay for fuel at Woodville – he was chased.
With a fully loaded tray and a tank fuelled to the brim, the bandit flouted the law and ignored pleas from Woodville General Store proprietor Allison Cox to “stop and pay”.
Ms Cox was off-shift but had called in to the store on an errand pulling in behind an old Toyota trayback.
She looked on bemused as he shook the ute methodically squeezing every drop possible into the tank.
“I went to the counter and my brother Stuart [Cox] said ‘he’s got more fuel in it than the car is worth’,” she said.
Her suspicions aroused, she went back to her Holden and watched and waited.
“He saw me sitting there and said ‘I’ll just move so you can fill up’,” she said.
“I yelled to him ‘wait, you have to pay’, and he sort of looked at me but ignored me, taking off toward Largs.”
An unlikely pursuit ensued through the rural back blocks with Ms Cox behind the wheel of the family station wagon.
“When he turned off toward Largs I called the police and said ‘I’m chasing this guy’,” she said.
Mr Cox called to check in as the ute continued into Largs.
“I followed him down a few dead end roads and at one point he almost reversed into me,” she said. “He had to go up the gutter to get away once.”
The chase continued out of Largs toward Morpeth.
“He turned down this dirt track off Phoenix Park Road and when he found the gate locked he drove over a mound and across the paddock.
“He was fully loaded and fishtailing,” she said. “I gave up at that point because I wasn’t going paddock bashing after him.”
The slow chase lasted about 15 minutes and had finished shortly after the police arrived at the store.
Police are continuing their investigations.