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Frite thieves: Frying oil theft earned duo up to €1,000 a day

08:51 07/02/2023

A pair of thieves who stole used frying oil from numerous restaurants were making up to €1,000 a day before they were caught.

Restaurants store their used frying oil in giant drums which the thieves were taking from establishments in the Charleroi area, SudPresse reports.

A 100kg drum would fetch €90 and a 130kg drum could be worth as much as €125.

One restaurateur, Achraf Bakkari, has seen several of his used-oil drums stolen in the last two years.

“They know the place: They come to the back of the restaurant, they help themselves and exchange the drums,” Bakkari told RTL.

“We have two types of cans, a big one and a small one. They have cans of all sizes and they exchange the cans for empty ones. You don't realise it, and then they take the contents. The whole process takes three minutes, it's well practised.”

Normally a restaurant is paid by agencies who collect the drums for re-processing and re-sale, and the thieves posed as official employees of such companies.

The losses for the restaurant owners vary from €150 to €200 per month, since there are sometimes incentivising bonuses.

Bakkari says some restaurant owners are not aware their used oil can be sold for a profit and are fooled by people who charge them a fee to "dispose" of it, when in reality they resell the oil for a profit

The two thieves were apprehended last week and were discovered to have an address book that includes the names of 150 restaurants – potential victims or planned ones.

Considering the environmental nature of the offences, the thieves face up to three years in prison and a fine of €1 million.

Written by Helen Lyons