Petrol and oil theft on the rise

POLICE are warning people to make sure their cars and heating oil tanks are secure following a recent increase in fuel and oil theft’s in the area.

James Phillips, from Sussex Police, said: “Theft of heating and diesel oil has been a problem for many years and we see an increase in this type of crime whenever the price of crude oil rises.

“A rise in the price of fuel at the petrol pump inevitably leads to a rise in the cost of heating oil.

“This makes oil a more attractive proposition for the thief and they are now actively targeting fuel tanks at farms, transport depots and domestic properties.

“The thief may be using the oil for their own central heating or selling it on at a handsome profit.

“These tanks can contain thousands of pounds worth of oil and it therefore makes good sense to take a few precautions to protect them.

“The position of the oil tank can have a significant effect on how hard a target it is in the eyes of the thief.

“If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable of giving a view of it, then the thief may consider the chances of being seen too high.

“If the tank is close to a road, path, drive or alleyway then it will be a far easier target. Hiding the tank behind the garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding is fairly commonplace, but it does give the thief the advantage.

“While it may not be desirable, or legal, to have the tank close to the house- some sort of compromise location would be sensible.

“Of course this will not only be a major consideration when a new tank is to be installed but may be necessary if the tank has been targeted before.

““A thief will usually come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so it’s worth spending a little more on good quality locks.

“Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to the most popular of burglar tools; the bolt cropper.

“Due to their design, close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip.

“Remember that buying a padlock is like buying a car, the more you pay the better the quality and the longer it will last.

Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full.”