TWO men have been arrested after a vigilant member of the public spotted them trying to steal fuel.

North Yorkshire Police say that shortly after 4pm yesterday (November 11) at a service station on the A19 near Thirsk, a member of the public spotted two men hastily filling up large plastic drums with fuel and leaving without paying. 

A police spokesman said: "The member of public observed the direction of travel and quickly phoned 999. Police officers were already fuelled up and ready to go and immediately headed towards the area.

"The last lot of fuel was clearly not enough, as the suspects had pulled into a further petrol forecourt. Unfortunately for them police were around the corner and very quickly had their van boxed in. Officers found half a dozen containers of fuel inside the vehicle, some of which was leaking. The two men aged in their 30s were arrested on suspicion of theft.

"The fuel station from Thirsk contacted us to say that a van had made off without payment for £161.79 worth of fuel. The men have since both been interviewed and charged.

"Police would like to thank the member of public that called us on 999 for their swift action."