Theft of your heating oil can be very costly and distressing, particularly during periods of cold weather. Introducing layers of security around your property and oil tank is much more effective than relying upon any one product or doing nothing. Putting appropriate security products, daily routines and increased awareness in place, will reduce the opportunity for oil theft to occur.
What security measures can I take?
Remember the oil thief does not want to be seen, identified or caught and will most likely seek to steal your oil during the night or during the hours of darkness. The following layers will help prevent the oil thief getting to your heating oil.
Perimeter: Ensure that boundary fencing and lockable gating is in good condition and strong enough to prevent easy access into your property, particularly when you’re not at home.
Lighting: Fit low energy, ‘dusk to dawn’ (photo electric cells) sensored security lighting to remove dark places around your property but in particular around your oil tank. This layer will make the thief think twice as they will need to work in light and in doing so will increase the chances of them being caught.
Property: Ideally oil tanks should be close enough to be overlooked by you in your home, where suspicious activity is more likely to be noticed and action taken than if the tank is distant or positioned out of sight. Your own natural surveillance will deter the criminal and also help increase the chances of the thief being deterred or caught.
Tank: Tanks can be easily emptied if the criminal is given the time and where there are no effective security measures in place. Close shackle padlocks will help protect against bolt croppers and are recommended to deny ready access into the tank.
Alarm: Some padlocks feature integral alarms which can provide you an early warning that the tank is being tampered with Security alarm devices for oil tanks are specifically designed to indicate a sudden drop in tank contents and thereby will alert you to a potential problem. Consider buying from a Police Approved, ‘Secured by Design’ member company and fit control switches that limit and control the flow of oil if the pipe is cut.
Garden-screening and planting: Oil tanks are often enclosed with fencing or hidden away from view. Both approaches have merit in disguising the presence of a tank. However, do not disguise the tank so that you inadvertently screen both the tank and the criminal from view. Visual access from your property to the filling point should be provided to deter the criminal. Planting thorny shrubs around the tank is considered an effective barrier and deterrent for the criminal to negotiate.
Signage: Inexpensive warning signage that indicates you have taken security measures to combat crime will be noticed by the oil thief and help deter their interest. Signage should be displayed on the public facing side of your property
CCTV: Surveillance cameras can be a distinct security benefit but do not fit them in preference to the other physical security features. Only fit them as complimentary to other security measures, rather than replace them.
Neighbourhood Watch Scheme: These are recommended to form part of a communities overall neighbourhood protection strategy, where residents of like mind look out for each other and report suspicious activity to members, other groups and the Police.
Ongoing vigilance is key for the effective protection of crimes generally but is vital where heating oil theft is concerned.
- Report suspicious activity by calling the Police on 101.Always dial 999 in an emergency and where a crime is in progress.
- Check www.norfolk.police.uk website A-Z guidance for advice on protecting against crime.
- Consider calling Crimestoppers anonymously if you have information about any crime.