POLICE are on the hunt for criminals who have been drilling holes into cars and stealing fuel.

Six incidents have been reported in a matter of weeks in one Hampshire village.

It is believed the thieves drilled into tanks or removed caps to take the fuel.

Lesley Worrall’s Mini was targeted twice, at her home in Hookpit Farm Lane, in Kings Worthy.

The 71-year-old said: “They have taken two lots of petrol, about 20 litres in total. The first time we were away, but the second time we were in the house which is quite disconcerting.”

Other incidents in the village were in Ramsay Road, one in Fraser Road, and one in Wesley Road.

Gloria Francis, 66, of Ramsey Road, said her son Stephen’s Ford Focus was drained.

“They drilled six holes into the tank,” she said.

“I’m furious. I feel sorry for anyone that has had it done, but it just makes you so angry because they are so callous. If it was one hole it might have been repairable but you can’t with six holes.”

It cost the 36-year-old and his family £500 to replace the tank.

The warehouse worker said he had to rely on lifts from friends for ten days whie it was fixed.

“I don’t like relying on other people, I like to do things myself,” he said.

“It was an inconvenience. I filled up the night before because I was going to a funeral the day after. It was just below a full tank so it was probably 35 litres of petrol.”

He said he now reverses into his parking space, but feels “nervous” about leaving his car there.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said it is the time of year for this type of crime.

They said: “That is so dangerous. One spark and it will go up in flames. It’s just mental. They do all sorts of things to get money towards Christmas. The simple solution is to get a job.”

A Hampshire police spokesperson said: “If anyone is aware of any similar incidents in other communities we would encourage people to call police on 101, or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, where information can be left anonymously.”