Fuel theft is on the increase, according to the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) and the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA). Prime targets for thieves include remote locations such as farms and construction sites, particularly at night and weekends when they are less likely to be seen or disturbed, but fuel theft can happen anywhere and at any time.

If you store heating oil or vehicle fuel in a tank or fuel dispensing system, there are basic steps you can take to minimise the risk of fuel theft.

How to reduce the risk of fuel theft

Make your tank less visible

If your fuel storage tank isn’t visible from the road or public land, it’s less likely to be targeted by opportunist thieves or criminals reconnoitring an area. if your tank has already been installed and can be seen by passersby, screen it with a wall, fence, trees or a plant-covered trellis. However, you should allow enough room between the screen and the tank to enable oil deliveries and tank servicing, and make sure the screen complies with fire safety regulations.

Slimline tanks are also easier to hide and are designed to be more difficult to steal from. While underground fuel storage tanks involve more work to install, they are also less visible.

A plastic-in-steel tank is another effective deterrent to fuel theft, as the steel outer is harder to penetrate while the corrosion-proof plastic inner provides more durable storage

Upgrade your security

Motion-activated security lighting can often startle thieves into abandoning the scene. If you or anyone else lives near the fuel storage site, make sure the lighting is bright enough to wake them up at night; otherwise, you may just be making it easier for the thieves to get away with ‘spotlight robbery’.

Installing CCTV cameras that cannot be easily tampered with will also provide useful evidence should a theft take place.

Secure your tank

If the inspection cap on your tank is fitted with eyelets, secure it with a strong closed-shackle padlock that is more difficult to cut with bolt cutters.

Using a tank level monitor such as the Apollo Smart Tank Pack will allow you to remotely monitor your fuel usage inside the house and features a Fuel Theft Alarm to alert you of any sudden drop in the fluid level. if you install a monitor or alarm, put a notice on or near the tank to announce it is alarmed, as a further deterrent.

If your fuel dispenser serves multiple users, choose one with a fuel management system which will restrict access to authorised persons.

Stay vigilant

Liaise with your neighbours to look out for and report any suspicious activity such as strangers or vehicles loitering in the area and mysterious doorstep callers who seem to show a keen interest in the property. Even if a crime hasn’t been committed, a pattern of suspicious activity can help the police build a case against potential thieves.

Think twice about letting anyone see around your property under the guise of ‘carrying out essential works’ or quoting for house or grounds maintenance.

Get expert advice

Tanks-UK supplies a wide range of tanks, dispensing systems and accessories for heating fuel, diesel and petrol and has a wealth of experience in domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural fuel requirements.

For expert advice and a fast, effective solution to your fuel security requirements, call us on 01953 665940 or email info@tanks-uk.com.

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