A rise in the price of oil has led to a surge in domestic heating oil thefts across the UK & Ireland.
Not only are victims left out of pocket for oil, but the residual oil spill caused by thieves when they illegally access heating tanks can cost thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds, to repair the damage caused.
Heating oil spills also pollute the environment including groundwater, rivers and streams which can lead to the victim being investigated by the Environment Agency.
Historically, fuel thieves have targeted rural homes and construction sites as these isolated locations provide them with opportunities to get away with their crimes. In recent years however, with fuel prices increasing so rapidly, this crime has become prevalent in urban settings too.
There are some measures that you can take to try to protect your domestic oil supply and ensure you don’t become a victim of this crime.
Conceal Your Tank
It is worth adding a cover over your tank so it can’t be spotted on satellite as many thieves use Google Maps to research their targets. You can also restrict the view of your tank with walls and fences (within OFTEC regulations) remembering to ensure your oil supplier can still gain access safely.
Lock Up Your Tank
By locking your tank with a padlock, you may not prevent the oil from being accesses as most thieves drill a hole in the tank for fast access but, it will act as a deterrent. A visual security measure such as a padlock can be enough to deter thieves.
CCTV & Security Lighting
A CCTV camera and a movement triggered light can be a great way to ward off thieves.
If you place your tank in a remote location, then a thief may feel it is easier to strike where prying eyes can’t see. Placing your heating oil tank within full view of one or more of your windows can act as a deterrent.
Remote Oil Gauges
Remote oil level gauges can be located in your home and will set off an alarm when the oil levels in your heating oil tank are below a quarter full or if there is a sudden drop in your heating oil.
It is costly if your heating oil is stolen. Make sure that your heating oil is covered under your household insurance so that if you do become a victim, you will be able to make a claim to replace not just the lost oil, but also the cost of any repairs to the damage thieves may have done.