Firefighters were called to a supermarket petrol station when a driver tried to fill up unaware fuel thieves had drilled a hole in her tank.
Dana Thomas, 20, of Lepton, thought the fill-up at Morrisons at Waterloo was costing her more than usual and looked down to see a flood of petrol.
She rushed for help but staff at the supermarket had to dial 999 and she was told to stay in her car and not use her mobile phone because of the risk of explosion.
“It was frightening,” said Dana, who was on her way to a job interview when the drama happened. “But the fire brigade were great and so were the staff.”
Dana left home in her Fiat 500 at just before 7.30am on Friday and saw that her fuel warning light was on.
She headed for Morrison’s to get petrol before going off to Huddersfield Golf Club for an interview for bar work.
“Usually to fill my car from empty costs £35 but when it got to £40 I thought something wasn’t right. I looked down and it was draining fuel,” she said.
“I thought I had a metal tank and maybe it had rusted and something had caught it and caused a leak.
“They gave me some sticky tape in the petrol station but then we had to get the fire brigade out. It was a major fuel leak – about 32 litres.”
Dana asked her fiancé Joshua Weber, a mechanic, to look at the tank and he could see drill burr marks around the hole. The couple plugged the leak and made a repair.
After the drama Dana was able to put back her interview – but still got the job.
When she returned home and spoke to neighbours they found two other cars had been attacked.
Thieves had drilled a diesel tank by mistake and then targeted a Vauxhall Astra stealing petrol – and leaving the owner with a £750 bill to replace the metal tank.
Dana said that another neighbour had seen a Peugeot car parked alongside her Fiat at around 3.30am and another neighbour saw a silver Peugeot with two middle-aged men in woolly hats in the street some time earlier.
“They were obviously eyeing up the cars,” said Dana. “The neighbour remembered them because they had woolly hats on and it was a hot day.”
The Examiner reported last week how several cars were believed to have had petrol tanks drilled in Bank Street, Mirfield.
Dana wanted to raise awareness but said: “I don’t think there’s much you can do to prevent it.”