February 08, 2012

Latest figures show a significant increase in heating oil thefts

Thefts of heating oil around Wales have increased by over 500% in the past five years, according to a recent article published by the BBC.

Figures show the equivalent of a theft of oil every day by the end of 2011.

The numbers jumped from 68 in 2007 to 364 last year, according to the statistics released under a Freedom of Information request.

 So far this year thefts have been reported from the south of England up to Scotland, with one rural householder in Newlandrig, Midlothian, losing more than £1,700 worth of heating oil in a single raid.

Opportunist thieves who drive around the countryside looking for homes and businesses to target are also a threat as the temperatures remain low and the economic climate continues to squeeze people’s pockets.

Duncan Lambert, Director at Rix Petroleum, said there were precautions people could take to reduce the possibility of becoming victims of the oil theft.

He said: “Heating oil is a valuable commodity and all too often during the winter months it is targeted by thieves wanting it for their own use or selling it on the black market.

“The situation is not helped by the fact many homes and businesses targeted are in isolated areas where thieves can go unnoticed for long periods of time.

To help prevent Heating oil theft from your tank, here are some ideas of what you can do: 

  • Make sure the oil gauge is secured correctly to the tank
  • If your tank has a lid design, consider fitting suitable locks and/or lockable valves where necessary and then ensure that they are used. This may be a legal requirement for some tanks. Your tank installation engineer or fuel delivery company will be able to advise you. Contact Rix Heating services for further advice: 01482 222250 or email us at
  • Monitor your oil tank on a regular basis. Remote electronic oil level gauges are available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen or perhaps a utility room to warn of any potential problem. Rix offer an automatic tank monitoring system, called Rix Oil Alert. Speak to us today on 01482 224422 or email us to find out more
  • If the need arises to replace your tank, consider where you position the tank and make more secure. But remember to leave clear access for the delivery man at the fill point and the gauge can be seen.
  • You MUST never lock or block the tank vent/ breather, as this will cause the tank to split and cause further damage.
  • Consider fitting CCTV to monitor the tank
  • Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief. It’s not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams, as a more subtle level of lighting may be all that is needed. Low energy “dusk till’ dawn lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both effective and inexpensive.

    Please remember that the above points are just suggestions which may help to protect your tank from Oil Theft. We can not guarantee these suggestions will prevent a thief from stealing your oil.
    Source: Rix and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers.


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