Lincolnshire Police issue advice on preventing fuel theft after an increase in fuel thefts over the past week.
Theft of heating and diesel oil has been a problem in rural areas for many years and, with the rising crude oil costs it is predicted to continue to be an issue for the community. Thieves are known to be actively targetting fuel tanks at farms, transport depots and domestic properties. There were numerous oil thefts reported in the area last winter.
Oil fuel tanks can hold many thousands of pounds worth of oil and owners are advised to take precautions to protect them, and make it more difficult for thieves.
The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how a target it is in the eyes of a thief. If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable to giving a view of it, then a potential thief may consider this too risky. However, if the tank is close to a road, path, drive or alleyway then it may be seen as a better target for a thief.
In addition to this, a good thief will always have a range of tools to attack locks and other devices on the tank so it is always worth spending a little more on good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer the most resistance to bolt croppers.
There are a range of remote electronic oil level gauges that can be purchased that sets off an alarm if the oil level suddenly drops, or drops below a quarter full. They can cost between £70 – £100, but that is far cheaper than dealing with a tank that has been drained by thieves.
Security lamps and CCTV can also have an effect on the likelyhood of your tank to be preyed upon by thieves.
Remember that thieves also love empty properties – by keeping an eye on your neighbours property and tank when they are away you can also seek to keep the thieves away. Not all thieves attack during the hours of darkness – in some areas they have passed themselves off as delivery people either ‘delivering’ to the property (stealing when the owners are out) or offering cheap fuel to homeowners – the fuel they have just stolen from someone else. Always ask to see ID if you are suspicious.
Should you see anything suspicious please remember to report it to Lincolnshire Police.