WITH the number of petrol-related incidents continuing to rise on the Rock, the government has proposed a Bill to enforce bigger penalties.
Earlier this year, the government made it a criminal offence for a person to be in possession of large quantities of fuel. However it has not done enough to stop criminals.
Therefore, on August 18, the government proposed an increase in the penalties given to those found with ‘highly volatile automotive fuel’.
The bill states that fines should be substantially increased and all offences must be made indictable and therefore tried in court.
The amendments could see fines increased to more than £100,000, with a minimum of 10 years in prison. In incidents where there is serious injury or loss of life, the criminal could face life imprisonment.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, said: “I have been very concerned about the increased detection of crimes involving possession of large amounts of fuel. The indiscriminate trade in these fuels and the careless transportation is creating a reckless and massive danger to so many innocent people in our community.
“If a vehicle carrying twenty fuel canisters were to explode, the loss of life, personal injuries and physical damage in Gibraltar would be enormous.
“Strangely, since we made the practice illegal, the number of instances has increased. As a result, by now providing for these huge penalty increases, I know we are going to do the right thing and provide the tools our law enforcement and our judiciary need when dealing with these offences. If necessary, we will act further, again.”