Oil theft warning as prices soar

March 24th 2022

Rural homeowners with oil storage tanks are being urged to check their security amidst increased fears that they could be targeted by thieves.

In times of high oil prices, there is a tendency for people to stockpile supplies before greater price increases occur.

Additionally, farmers and those who live in remote rural areas often prefer to keep their tanks at the highest level in case deliveries are delayed.

Storing large amounts of oil on-site makes them particularly vulnerable.

Storage tanks can contain hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of pounds worth of oil, so they are an obvious target for thieves.

Stealing oil is not a hi-tech, difficult to organise crime. A 1,000-litre tank can be drained within minutes.

Siting tanks out of view from roads is a sensible precaution. However, many tanks look unattractive and for that reason owners often position them out of sight of the home. The problem with this is that they locate them in areas of the property that make it easier for thieves to act unobserved.

Lighting and CCTV cameras can be effective security measures, but it is important to maintain them and test them regularly as they may have become inoperative.

The actual material tanks are made of should be considered before purchase. Steel ones are much more difficult for thieves to drill through – or carry away.

Owners could also consider installing secure cages around their tanks.

Daily checks of oil gauges should be made. Technology is also available that sends text messages to multiple mobile phones if there is an unexpected drop in oil levels. Additionally, there are alarms that continually monitor levels using ultrasonics and sound-off when they suddenly drop.”

Home insurance does not always cover theft or damage to oil tanks, so it is important that property owners seek advice from an insurance broker to check adequate cover is in place.

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