There is always a small risk of fuel products being stolen but with the recent hike in the price of heating oil and other fuels, there is a significant increase in the risk of theft. Whilst the theft of oil from tanks doesn’t occur regularly, it does happen. As tanks have the potential to store hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds worth of fuel, keeping your tank safe and reducing the risk of theft of your oil is an important exercise.
We have a number of tips to help you protect your oil tank from theft, but we emphasise the following three steps as being the priority.
1. Out of sight, out of mind
When choosing where your heating oil tank should be located, you need to find the balance between aesthetics, convenience, safety, and security whilst ensuring you remain compliant with the applicable OFTEC regulations.
It’s most common for people to install their oil tank outside, however it is possible for it to be located in an outbuilding or even underground, although please check carefully with your supplier before you do this to ensure that the tank complies with the regulations and can still be filled. When choosing somewhere outdoors, we recommend sitting your tank behind a garage/outbuilding/shed or at least away from prying eyes.
If you choose to relocate your tank, make sure you speak to one of our qualified OFTEC engineers before doing so as they will be able to provide expert safety advice.
2. Keep it light and bright
Considering the type of security lighting. There is a large range of motion activated flood lights available on the market. Motion sensors can startle any trespassers and alert you to their presence. Alternatively the use of low-level lighting throughout the night can provide enough light to illuminate suspicious activity.
3. Don’t take your eyes off the prize
CCTV is a great way to monitor your tank, it can deter thieves and provide valuable evidence should you ever need it for police reports and insurance claims. There are many different types of CCTV available now, so it is important to research which works best for your requirements and fits within your budget.
You may also want to consider the following measures to help protect your heating tank further.
4. Protect with plants
Most thieves won’t want to negotiate prickly plants during a theft, so disguising your tank with prickly plants such as holly or blackthorn can be a great deterrent, and will also hide your tank from view. You will still need to have access to your tank, so don’t plant too close to the tank and keep it well maintained so that your delivery driver and heating engineer can get to the tank and carry out necessary inspections.
5. Install a tank cage
One of the best ways to prevent thieves from accessing your oil tank is to restrict access, and a tank cage would do this. A cage with a door and lock adds another obstacle to put thieves off. Don’t forget, your heating oil provider will still require access for deliveries and maintenance checks.
6. Be notified with a tank alarm
You can set up a tank alarm and depending on the make and model of the device, it will send notifications to your mobile phone warning you of any sudden changes to your fuel level and even if the tank has been opened. Whilst an alarm might not prevent an actual theft before it happens, signage indicating the tank is alarmed may help deter thieves.
7. Choosing the right tank
If you’re thinking about changing your oil tank it is worth considering the type of tank, model and material that it is made from to help prevent theft. Our blog explaining the types of oil tanks is full of useful tips when making your selection.
8. Add a spinning tank tap
A spinning tank tap act as a valuable tool as they remove the need to rely on a padlock. Utilising clever technology, a spinning tank tap spins freely when locked precenting torque points and removing the ability to force entry with a crowbar or similar.
9. Physically check your tank
Checking your tank and its surrounding area should be a regular task, it will allow you to identify if anything has changed or looks suspicious. If you do notice anything unusual in the area you may wish to review your security measures around the tank and monitoring it more closely.
10. Install a lock
Installing a lock may seem like an obvious solution to prevent theft. Whilst a lock may act as a deterrent, they may encourage thieves to try different tactics to get your fuel, including drilling into your tank and syphoning your fuel which can result in the need to replace your tank and expensive clean up bills. Also if you do decide to lock your tank please make sure it is unlocked when you are expecting a delivery.
Please note, with all the above tips you must ensure access to your oil tank is available and safely maintained for delivery drivers and engineers to fill and inspect your tank. It is also important to note your tank should always comply with OFTEC regulations.
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