A man who filled his car up at a petrol station in Canterbury left without paying - and then added a further insult with his cheeky number plates.

When workers zoomed in on the man's vehicle, on security footage, they saw that the number plates had been covered with bits of cardboard and the letters: "IOU".

Staff at the Caltex Kaiapoi took to Facebook in a bid to bring the man to justice - sharing CCTV footage of him wearing shorts, a white hooded sweatshirt and half his face covered in a black scarf.

"Morning everyone, we need your help. This lovely chap came onto our forecourt and filled up his car...but he seems to have forgotten to pay.

Advertisement

"Unfortunately, he has something covering his face and not just one, but both of his plates - and we are struggling to track him down," the post reads.

"If anyone recognises anything about this car or the driver, please get in touch."

Morning everyone, we need your help! This lovely chap came onto our forecourt and filled up his car yesterday but he...

Posted by Caltex Kaiapoi on Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The incident happened on Tuesday, at 6.30pm.

A staffer told the Herald this morning they had yet to file a report with police, but had been in touch with local businesses to request CCTV footage of the man and his vehicle.

The worker said there was a bit of a laugh now, among staff members, about the number plates. But with $80 of petrol gone, it was still a serious matter.

"It's definitely a bit cheeky," the staff member said.

"But it's still a bit of a nuisance."

Despite the man's brazen actions, many people found the funny side of the situation.

Advertisement

"That personalised plate is a beaut," one wrote.

"Not the IOU ones," another laughed. Another commentator simply posted the face-palm emoji.

Others, however, sympathised with the pretend customer - acknowledging that it was a sign of the times, given how petrol prices were so high these days.

At least two locals said they had spotted the vehicle in the past two days, complete with the makeshift cardboard "IOU" number plates.

"The plates caught my eye and not him unfortunately," one said.