Security of Fuel Stocks and Fuel Cards

This bulletin is circulated as part of Nolan Oils commitment to support the police in their work against crime in our industry.

A mixture of good news and bad news stories in a very fuel-centric edition this time. Members are especially warned to watch out for fuel theft from vehicles parked in poorly lit areas, from bulk tanks on company premises and on farms.

Recipients are invited to forward this communication to drivers or other appropriate members of staff in their organisations who might find this information useful, when it is safe and convenient to do so.

Keep alert!

Security of fuel stocks

We have been asked to publicise the following notice by Kent Police due to the increasing number of incidents involving theft of fuel oil from businesses and rural residential premises throughout the county. There are some good tips here for all businesses wherever they are based.

With the spiralling cost of all fuel oil types, the theft of these commodities is becoming a more attractive proposition to potential offenders throughout the country.

Bulk fuel is probably the most attractive target. Therefore this advice is aimed at that section of our community; farmers, householders and businesses; particularly those in rural communities, who have heating or fuel oil, such as diesel stored in external tanks.

The following advice may help improve the security of your fuel supply.

  • The simple act of keeping your yard or drive gates closed and securely locked could prevent a theft
  • Ensure gates and fences are in good repair
  • Consider installing CCTV along with suitable lighting
  • Remember not to leave valuable items on view if possible
  • When buying alarms, CCTV, locks or any security devices, the better the quality the longer they will last
  • Record the details of any unfamiliar vehicles and their occupants seen in the area

The location of storage tanks can be a critical factor

  • Ideally they should be situated within sight of your home, office or business while at the same time being difficult to see by the general public
  • Plant hostile (thorny) shrubs around your tank, eg Pyrocanthia, Berberis, Ilex or even Gooseberry
  • Regularly check your fuel levels so that you can easily spot if the level drops unexpectedly
  • Tank valves should be locked as should any inspection or filling hatches
  • Consideration should be given to purchasing a remote electronic oil level gauge which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a certain level
  • Install lockable caps with crop proof padlocks/fittings and where possible provide vulnerable fuel hoses with hardened/flexible casing so that they are harder to cut
  • If you are installing or re-siting an oil tank, consider securing the tank in an alarmed, ventilated, brick or block built, locked structure
  • Consideration could also be given to surrounding the tank in a weld mesh lockable cage, however also remember that the oil tanker driver will need access to fill the tank!
  • Check your oil is covered by your household or business insurance

It is very important to mark your property with your postcode, including items in sheds/garages/outbuildings. Items that are marked are less likely to be stolen. However, if they are stolen and recovered, they can be returned to the rightful owner.

‘Forensic marking’ solutions are now available such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA as well as CrimeStoppers solutions and if you are interested in discussing any of these security systems, please contact your local Crime Reduction Officer for further advice.

Security is everyone’s responsibility and the police objective is to introduce measures that prevent or deter crime and increases the risks, where it belongs; with the criminal.

Information regarding this type of crime can be passed onto Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or by clicking on the following Crimestoppers link.

Theft and copying of fuel cards

Companies are primarily responsible for the correct management of fuel cards issued to them by service providers and also for their drivers being instructed in company policy on diesel credit cards.

FTA has learnt that fuel cards have been stolen from drivers’ cabs and used, as drivers frequently keep the pin codes together with the cards. Cards have been copied and used subsequently, after criminals have broken into cabs, even if pin codes have been kept separately. Fuel cards have been misused even if they have been in the company’s possession all the time.

Protect your fuel cards
  • All companies are advised to have a sound fuel card policy
  • Cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle cab
  • Cards must be with the driver or kept in the company office
  • Cards and pin code should never be kept together
  • Change card and code when the driver stops working for the company
  • When fuelling and using pin code the driver must be aware of people standing next to him who may be able to see him entering the pin code
  • The driver must also be alert to the possibility of small cameras being mounted on the card machine. Does everything look all right?
  • Is the security on the company’s premises fit for purpose?

Discuss with your fuel card supplier the company’s needs for cards both at home and abroad; perhaps setting a maximum number of litres when refuelling, and what additional services may be purchased with the cards. Note that with some suppliers you may be held responsible for every purchase made, irrespective of the purchase exceeding a possible value limit set for litres of fuel.

Perhaps one idea might be to issue to all drivers a small computer bag to store all valuables such as computer, digital tacho card, and fuel cards. The driver must take the bag with him during his meal breaks or take it inside when he drives the vehicle home. When staying the night in the vehicle on company premises, the bag must be stored in the office.

Consider also if all drivers/vehicles have the same requirements. Does the company need fuel cards for vehicles or fuel cards for every driver? How are the codes kept? And how is the code communicated to the driver, if they forget it?

There have been several cases where a card has been copied and returned. Companies may report a burglary but do not alert a card supplier to block the cards, as they have not been stolen. Police advice is to always contact your card supplier and arrange for new cards to be issued. Finally, make sure that the agreement with your supplier is in order with respect to your company’s liability for use/misuse of the card.

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