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How to deter heating oil thieves from stealing expensive fuel from your tank

PUBLISHED: 15:37 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:06 14 December 2017

Police have issued a warning about heating oil thefts. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Police have issued a warning about heating oil thefts. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Archant

Crime prevention advice has been issued to help people in Suffolk deter heating oil thieves – after more than 50 cases were reported this year.

Sgt Brian Calver said a few simple security improvements can deter opportunists. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY Sgt Brian Calver said a few simple security improvements can deter opportunists. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Suffolk Constabulary is also advising people on how to keep their heating oil secure amid increased winter usage.

Sgt Brian Calver from Stowmarket police said: “Heating oil is an expensive outlay, yet many people take few or no steps to secure their tank.

“Criminals will try their luck with tanks where they can easily remove thousands of pounds worth of fuel.

“A few simple security improvements can deter opportunists.”

Tip include:

•Check oil levels frequently so households are aware if supplies have been tampered with and consider an electronic oil level gauge which sets off an alarm if the oil level drops below a quarter full

•Consider perimeter security for the whole tank, such as a metal cage or fencing, or even a prickly hedge, to deter thieves - but make sure deliveries can still be received

•Fit a good quality locking device to fuel tanks

•When installing or repositioning an oil tank or considering repositioning it, try to locate it within sight of nearby occupied buildings.

•Consider appropriate lighting around the tank so people approaching can be seen.

Sgt Calver added: “We also need communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. If you spot something unusual at a friend, neighbour or relative’s house, or at a nearby business premises, call police on 101 or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

”This also includes calling police immediately if you are cold called by someone trying to sell you heating oil at a discounted price. It is likely the individual will be a rogue trader so you should turn them away.

“Always buy from a reputable source, and once your delivery has been made make sure you re-secure your tank and gates.

“It’s also worth bearing in mind heating oil sold by rogue traders may well contain other contaminants that could damage heating systems, leaving householders with significant repair costs and no recompense as a result of using unscrupulous suppliers.”

Anyone with information about oil theft should contact Suffolk police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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