A Banburyshire village has become the first ‘fuel protected’ community in Warwickshire thanks to a new initiative aimed to turn up the heat on the fuel thieves.
Oxhill is the first to benefit from the scheme between Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Rural Crime Co-ordinators, in partnership with Warwickshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and Red Horse Vale Fuels.
The village has experienced a large number of heating oil thefts during 2014 and early 2015 and residents, the parish council and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Safety Ambassadors Mick and Barbara Shepard have been trialling a range of security devices within the village.
Red Horse Vale Fuels are also delivering crime prevention information packs to their customers when delivering fuel.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball met with residents in Oxhill on Monday to hand over professional village gate signs, which will be displayed on all roads into the village.
He said: “I am delighted that Oxhill has become the first ‘Fuel Protected’ community in Warwickshire. The theft of fuel oil has been an issue of concern to rural communities for a long time and, while police have had some successes in catching those responsible, it remains a problem both here in Warwickshire and across the country.
“Prevention is much better than cure, however, so I’m delighted that Oxhill has embraced this concept so well and I’m also thankful to Red Horse Vale Fuels for coming on board with the initiative.”
The crime prevention packs contain fact sheets with tips on how to keep both your fuel and your home more secure, with links to the Warwickshire Rural Watch website where residents can find additional crime prevention advice, details of crime reduction initiatives taking place in their local area and the ability to sign up for alerts from the police.
Local village websites and magazines are also providing information on how to keep heating oil secure and many have similarly provided links to the Warwickshire Rural Watch website.
Red Horse Vale Fuels supply a large number of households and businesses with heating oil and fuel in the surrounding area and negotiations with other fuel suppliers to join the scheme are ongoing.
Mr Ball added: “The gate signs will provide a very visible reminder to would-be thieves that residents and the authorities are taking fuel theft seriously and that the village is not a ‘soft touch’ for crime.
“This is the first in what hopefully will be a whole network of similarly protected rural communities across the county so criminals should take note and give Warwickshire a wide berth.”
For more crime prevention advice visit www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk