A petrol thief failed to take into account gas station owner Ray Stevens' extensive social media network on Monday.

Within hours of driving off without paying for $69 of petrol from Double S Motordrome on Great North Road, police were hot on the trail of the alleged offender.

Mr Stevens, a former Whanganui District Councillor, has an extensive social media network built up over several years.

He used those connections for help in tracking down the thief and the response he got was swift indeed.

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"Within a few hours of posting our security camera footage we had a name and a sighting of the car parked up along Somme Parade.

Ray Stevens at the Double S Motordrome at Westmere.
Ray Stevens at the Double S Motordrome at Westmere.

"The police are waiting for the driver to turn up to collect the car," Mr Stevens told the Wanganui Chronicle.

"I'm expecting the police will catch up with him and I will eventually get paid. It's an outstanding result," Mr Stevens said.

Police confirmed they were making enquiries after receiving a report of a petrol drive off, between 09.30 and 09.35 Monday, on SH3, Westmere.

"A car - a red hatchback- was found parked on Somme Parade at 11.24," a spokesperson said.

"According to the records, no arrests or charges have been made."