Welsh brothers Russell and Richard Fowler have invented a device that prevents fuel siphoning, inspired by a trip to a diamond mining region of the Kalahari Desert where diesel theft was common.
The brothers set up Newport-based TruckProtect three and a half years years ago. After working through 80 prototypes, their InstantFit NeckIT is now the UK’s best-selling anti-fuel theft device. They sell 40,000 units a year and TruckProtect made £2m in turnover in 2008.
The device is designed to prevent fuel theft by stopping access to the fuel tank through the filler neck for any other purpose than filling the tank. The device had to be able to accept 120 litres of fuel a minute from high-speed pumps without causing any splashback. The device also had to provide security right to the top of the tank, while still enabling Customs to take samples for analysis.
TruckProtect has developed a range of NeckIt devices to fit every make and model of commercial vehicle – including buses, coaches and municipals – in Asian, European, UK and US markets.
Russell Fowler said: ‘I’d hired a truck and was travelling around with my son when we heard about the theft of diesel, which was prevalent. Ironically, people around the diamond mines weren’t stealing diamonds but were skimming off diesel from the trucks.
‘The haulage sector is going through a very tough time at the moment and they need to protect every litre of fuel they buy. The odd 25 litres of fuel siphoned off here and there adds up and runs into several thousand pounds a year. With the current economic climate, businesses simply cannot afford that sort of loss,’ he added.
The company is also developing products related to fuel improvement and complementary to their anti-fuel theft devices.