If you are one of the millions of domestic properties choosing heating oil as a cost effective and efficient way to heat your home, fuel an oil cooker or provide a continuous supply of hot water, your oil tank may become an attractive and lucrative target for fuel thieves. Although it is not possible to completely prevent heating oil theft, there are measures you can take to try and ensure that you do not become a victim of this crime yourself.
Where you position your oil tank will have a significant effect on whether it is worth the thieves’ time and effort. It is recommended that your oil tank is located outside and above ground. Domestic oil tanks that are located closer to the property and overlooked by windows or CCTV may be considered too high risk by thieves. You may also want to surround your heating oil tank with tall evergreen bushes to offer some extra camouflage, however, be sure to leave several feet between the tank and the bushes. Whilst it is important to considering the security of your heating oil tank, it is also important to ensure that the location is accessible to oil tanker drivers. An unsafe or difficult location will make it complicated to safely fill your storage tank.
Why not gravel the access route to your tank, or around the tank? This will make noise when it is walked over and serve to alert you and deter a potential thief. Security lights can also make any property a much harder target for a thief. Low energy 'dusk til dawn' lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide enough light to illuminate any suspicious activity.
A thief will usually come equipped with tools to attack your tank, so it’s worth investing in good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are most effective as they offer most resistance to tools such as bolt croppers. If possible, padlocks should be shrouded to make bolt cropping of locks or brackets difficult for an offender.
Remote electronic oil level gauges are available. If the oil level in your tank drops at an unusually fast rate, the receiver will emit an audible alarm. As well as alerting you to theft, it will also alert you to leaks and as a reminder to top up your tank.
Whilst there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of heating oil theft at home, it’s important to be vigilant. If you notice anything suspicious be sure to take a note and report it to the police. Click here for more heating oil tips and advice.