Police warning of continued home heating oil thefts

Police have warned local people not to believe that thefts of home heating oil have stopped just because its Spring.

Domestic oil tank security was a major issue which was highlighted during the Winter months following the rocketing cost of domestic heating oil but Police have warned against becoming complacent.

The police said this week: “Most domestic heating oil users only check their tanks every few weeks or months and are unaware if a thief is regularly siphoning off small quantities at a time.

“They ask householders to check oil levels frequently and monitor their levels.”

The police in Girvan and Carrick have also issued some handy hints to help householders keep their oil out of the hands of thieves.

Siting Your Oil Tank - The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how hard a target it is in the eyes of the thief. If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable of giving a view of it, then the thief may consider the chances of being seen too high.

Oil Level Gauges – Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full but are dependent on you being home and in the same room as the alarm unit at the time.

Security Lights – Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief, especially lights which also sound when the light has been triggered.

Defensive Planting – Defensive planting is nature’s way of helping to reduce crime. Thieves will not wish to force their way through or over a prickly hedge.

Securing Your Oil Tank – A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank, but it must be remembered that the oil tanker driver will need access to fill the tank! A metal or grill cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security but can be costly.

It’s not only households which are at risk of fuel theft. Farmers, too, are seen historically as targets thieves particularly when it comes to stocks of red diesel. So they, too have been supplied with a check-list to help them avoid falling foul of the thieves.

Deter thieves from entering your property by installing and using lockable gates and by maintaining boundaries and perimeter fencing.

Plant shrubs or install fences to hide exposed domestic heating oil tanks from the eyes of opportunist thieves cruising the neighbourhood

Consider fitting a locking cap to your tank or an alarm system which warns if the oil level drops suddenly.

Check tank oil levels regularly. Install an automatic movement sensor security lighting to cover your tank and the immediate surrounding area

Note suspicious vehicles’ registration numbers and report them to the police.

Lock shed and outbuildings if tanks are located there

Be aware that if thieves have already stolen fuel from your tank they may return to steal any replacement oil you order.

Be especially vigilant following a recent delivery of oil.

And finally, make sure your insurance policy covers you for fuel theft.