Police warning to be vigilant on oil thefts

LOCAL Crime Prevention Officers are advising the public to be vigilant of oil thefts as winter approaches.

Crime Prevention Officer Shell Wilson explained: “As the weather turns colder and we begin to use our home heating more, oil may become a target for thieves.

“Local residents and businesses should be vigilant and aware of any activity that is out of the ordinary in their area. People should pay particular attention to any lorries, vans, and cars towing trailers laden with containers that would be capable of transporting oil. Most oil distributors advertise their company on their delivery vehicles. If you see any tanker at an address without markings please alert the individual affected and contact the police.”

The following steps can help to protect your property:

Oil - Fit an oil watch level gauge system with an audible alarm

Install a tank guard or cage

Locks - use closed shackle padlocks to lock your tank and keep gates to your property locked

Trellis, fencing and planting - protect your tank with fencing and defensive planting (prickly plants)

Area - position your tank within view of your house and neighbours were possible

No to strangers - report suspicious persons and behaviour, encourage your neighbours to do the same

Keep the area around your tank well lit to reduce hiding places for offenders

Crime Prevention Officer Paula Nicholl continued: “To minimise the risk of loss, householders should consider ordering smaller amounts more often, where possible. Try to calculate how much oil you use and to establish how long a fill of oil should last. Remember to keep a record of your latest delivery and don’t forget to check the oil level regularly so that if a theft occurs you will know when it happened and how much was taken. Don’t forget that in colder weather heating may be on longer than normal and may be using more oil than you realise. Similarly when the weather turns milder you may use less oil, so don’t forget to take such matters into consideration.”

Anyone who wants further advice can contact their local police station on 0845 600 8000 and ask for the crime prevention officers who will be glad to advise on keeping your home safe.