Heating Oil Thefts - Stay Alert!

Do beware of thieves who siphon oil from tanks and sell it on at a discounted price.

Now the oil price is high, criminals have even more motivation to steal. With the cost of oil topping £0.50 per litre, a domestic tank full of heating oil can be worth up to £1000.

Thieves are likely to target houses in rural areas, where owners might not consider exterior security.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself 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, and consider installing a tank sensor or a tank alarm;
  • Join a neighbourhood watch scheme – take registration numbers of any cars/vans with people acting suspiciously, and then ring the Police's non-emergency crime number 101;
  • Check that your oil is covered under your household contents insurance.

Victims of oil theft should report incidents to their local police force.

August 2008 Update: there have been over 70 oil theft reports to Suffolk Police during the first half of this year, compared to six during the same period last year. Oftec (the heating oil trade body) is recommending that householders install security lighting and fit tank alarms.


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