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Advice on how to beat heating oil thieves

Tuesday, 21st December 2010.

Suffolk Police are issuing advice to help keep heating oil safe and secure over the Christmas and New Year period, following a number of thefts of oil in December.

Ten thefts have been reported since the start of the month, and are spread across the rural parts of the county as close to Haverhill as Barropw and Ousden.

Over 4,000 litres of heating oil has been stolen. Heating oil has shown a dramatic price increase in recent months.

Just a few simple steps can help make your tank and fuel more difficult for thieves to target.

• Screen your tank with fencing or hedges.
• Close and secure any gates leading to the tank.
• Conceal or cover any external pipes and fuel lines.
• Install dusk to dawn security lighting
• Install lockable caps supported by a closed shackle padlock.
• Regularly check your fuel levels. Sensors which monitor levels from inside the home are available.
• Consider installing a tank alarm.
• Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.

It should be noted that some oil storage containers are plastic and some are metal – so any security measures which directly affect the tank or pipe work should always be installed in consultation with the tank supplier.

Crime reduction officer Bernard Plume said: “As the temperatures stay below freezing, we’re all relying on our central heating systems and for those who live in more rural areas it’s often oil fired.

"When you’re checking the level in your tank, make sure it’s secure and concealed. If you’re leaving access open for a delivery, make sure the cap is locked after the fuel arrives.

“Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties. Large quantities of oil are often stolen, which means the thieves will need sizeable containers to collect the oil in and a van or a larger vehicle to take it away.

"If you see any suspicious persons or vehicles in your road or a neighbour’s driveway, contact police immediately by dialing 999.

“We need people to be vigilant – sometimes when reports come in to us, the oil could have been taken at any time over the preceding weeks or even months. We would urge householders to regularly check the level in their tanks.”

Further information on oil tank security can be found on our website www.suffolk.police.uk or by calling your local Crime Reduction Officer on 01473 613500.

Haverhill Online News

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