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Heating oil theft

Heating oil theft

No-one wants to be a victim of crime but unfortunately there is a rise in heating oil theft since it is an expensive commodity and fairly easy for thieves to access.

However, the owners of heating oil tanks can take a number of steps to help protect themselves from heating oil theft and they should consider:

  • If the oil tank needs replacing or it’s a new installation, then consider replacing it out of sight particularly so it’s not visible from the road and do not place it near external doors or gates
  • Boost protection by fitting a strong lock to the fill cap and also, if possible, the vent cap as well. Some owners may also need to consider fitting protective casing or a security cage to the exposed pipes or the tank itself.
  • Install security lights and possibly CCTV. Both should be movement sensitive and activated by any unwelcome late-night visitors. Strong floodlights will put the thieves off and installing CCTV is much cheaper than it used to be (though the cheapest option is to simply stick a ‘CCTV’ sign on a gate).

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Avoid being a victim of heating oil theft

Indeed, the last tip is a good one and owners who want to avoid being a victim of heating oil theft may also consider fitting a ‘beware of the dog’ sign as well since these will avoid these properties as they are wary of dogs barking to attract attention.

Also, in addition to locking the cap on the tank, owners should also consider adding strong locks to other access points such as garage doors and gates to help secure their property. It’s also a good idea to fix a fence that may have a hole in it to prevent access.

Considerations to avoid heating oil theft

Other considerations to avoid heating oil theft:

  • Grow plants that are prickly such as rose bushes around the tank which create a defence
  • Consider installing a steel heating oil tank as these are harder to access
  • When not in use, turn everything off, including the boiler, and secure the control switches which will make it more difficult for removing oil from the tank
  • Keep an eye on oil levels and notice when a sudden drop occurs as a thief may have struck or there may be a leak.

The last idea of checking oil levels regularly may also mean installing an alarm which will sound if the oil level suddenly drops because of a leak or a theft.
Owners should also ensure that their tank and its contents are covered by their home insurance and they should also be wary of any similar heating oil thefts occurring in their area and respond accordingly by boosting security.