Service stations have been victims in a spate of ram raids and robberies, so funding for protection measures will help keep them safe, says the Motor Trade Association.

The Government has announced a $6 million programme for small businesses to protect themselves from ram raids by installing measures such as security fog devices, alarms, and screens.

Ram raids and burglaries are frightening and costly for service station owners and operators, says MTA energy and the environment sector manager Ian Baggott.

“Anything to keep people safe is welcome, so we appreciate the Government’s announcement,” he says.

“Hopefully the fund is big enough and not mired in red tape, so businesses can get the protection they need quickly.”

One MTA member, a service station owner, has been hit by burglars four times in the last seven weeks, with intruders targeting vaping products.

The service station owner says bollards across the front of the business protected them from ram raids, but offenders smashed open the doors with hammers.

A security fog device was activated in two of the burglaries and the thieves were forced to leave without taking anything.

“Fog devices do work,” the service station owner says.

“It’s important to keep them regularly maintained, but they do work.”

Around half of the country’s service stations are run by small independent or franchise operators, the MTA explains.

It says that under previous Government funding programmes, the cost of installing a fog cannon was reduced from up to $4000 to $250.