The Norfolk Police Force is investigating 36 reported cases of heating oil theft throughout the county since 1 January 2008, furthering fears that the rising cost of oil is causing increased incidents. Other incidents have occurred in rural areas across the UK.
Now the oil price is high, criminals have even more motivation to steal. With the cost of oil topping $100 per barrel, a domestic tank full of heating oil can be worth up to £700 or more.
Thieves are likely to target houses in rural areas, where owners might not consider exterior security. We’ve come up with some hints to help our users protect themselves against oil theft:
- Screen the tank with fencing, trellis or a hedge;
- Cover any external pipe work/fuel lines from the house to the tank;
- Install motion sensor security lighting;
- Restrict easy access to the tank – thieves will want to get as close as possible with a vehicle, so make their life harder with a gate or fence;
- Regularly check the fuel level so you can easily spot if the level quickly drops – consider installing a tank sensor – see our website for more information or call our office.
- Join a neighbourhood watch scheme – telephone police if you see any suspicious vehicles close to properties;
- Check your oil is covered under your household contents insurance.
Victims of oil theft should report incidents to their local police force, and alert other home heating oil users.
We hope this information was useful.