Police offer awareness after heating thefts in district


Thames Valley Police are raising awareness after a rise in the theft of heating oil in the Cherwell and West Oxfordshire districts last year.

They are providing advice on how to keep your heating oil and belongings safe this autumn and winter and also how to report any crimes or suspicious behaviour.

The theft of heating oil is an attractive proposition for thieves who actively target fuel tanks at farms and rural domestic properties.

There are ways to deter offenders targeting your property.

Position of the tank, ideally if it can be seen by the property this can deter thieves.

CCTV, this can be set up to watch over an isolated tank.

Defensive planting is nature’s way of helping reduce crime. Thieves will not want to fight their way through or over a thorny hedge. Ripped clothing or blood may help the police identify an offender.

Restrict access to the tank with walls, fences and trellising.

Protect the tank with metal cages, grills and guards, these are available with lockable access points. Ensure someone is available when the tank needs to be filled.

Closed shackle padlocks offer the most resistance to bolt croppers.

There are devices that can be used to monitor oil levels and inform homeowners. These include;

Control switches - to control the flow of oil and isolate the electricity supply when the tank is not in use.

Oil level gauges alarms - these remote control alarms from Thames Valley Police approved security supplier.activate if the tank level suddenly drops or falls

Proximity GSM alarms - battery operated motion sensor alarms, which can alert designated mobile phones when motion activity has been detected around the tank

Sergeant Becky Fishwick from Banbury and Bicester Rural Neighbourhood Team said: “We would urge residents to put locks on their heating oil tanks and, where possible, keep any access gates to gardens locked and secure as a preventative and to deter offenders from targeting.

“Remember to check the oil level in your tank regularly. Look for spilt fuel, marks on locks or anything else suspicious and report this through the non emergency 101 enquiry centre.”

The Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum industry (OFTEC) offer advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises.

If you require further advice or assistance please contact your local neighbourhood police team via the 101 enquiry centre.