Now autumn is here and the nights are drawing in thieves will be on the look out for fuel to steal and householders need to make sure they can be thwarted.
Theft of oil is particularly a problem in rural areas, and now the cold nights are not far away this expensive commodity is eyed covetously by these people.
Happily there is a great deal that can be done to discourage this type of crime with Hampshire Constabulary – who has made tackling rural crime a priority – setting out some very useful hints and tips to discourage fuel theft.
1. The location of the 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 a road or path and out of sight then it is likely to be a far easier target than if it was near to the house or overlooked by a window.
2. A metal grill or cage with a lockable access point across the top of the wall or fence can help improve security. The wall or fence should be as close to the tank as possible and as high as possible.
3. A thief will also usually come equipped to attack your tank so it is worth investing in some good quality locks. Closed-shackle padlocks are the best as they offer the most resistance as there is very little of the metal hoop (shackle) exposed for attack.
4. Consider turning off the control switches that control the flow of oil and isolate the electricity when the tank is not in use. In addition, remote electronic oil level gauges are available, which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below quarter full. The alarm receiver can be placed in the house to warn the residents. There are also similar alarms that can notify the residents by text.
5. Low-energy “dusk-to-dawn” lighting positioned close to the tank often provides sufficient lighting to illuminate any suspicious activity if the area is overlooked.
Finally, thieves will be reluctant to force their way through or over prickly vegetation. The smallest trace of blood or shred of ripped clothing could help police identify the offender through DNA.
Hampshire Constabulary has produced an A5 leaflet which sets out all of their advice. This can be found at the following web-link: http://bit.ly/13uwVei.
Member of Parliament for Meon Valley
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary
House of Commons │London │SW1A OAA │Tel: 0207 219 7109 or Constituency Office: 01962 734076