October 01, 2012

It is no surprise that burglary and theft have increased during the recession, even though more serious and violent crime appears to have bucked the trend.

And one of the things we at Rix Petroleum have been hearing over the last couple of years is that fuel theft, from both domestic and commercial premises, is on the rise.

We decided therefore to get to the bottom of this and to find out see if such a trend really existed. We put in Freedom of Information Requests to all the police forces around where our depots operate to try to build a picture of the national scene.

Although several police forces didn’t release the figures due to the cost involved in processing them, the results are nonetheless interesting.

Our investigation shows the greatest increase in heating oil thefts from residential properties came in Norfolk, which went up by a substantial 45 per cent between 2009 and 2011, from 147 to 213 cases.

The county also saw an increase in diesel thefts from business premises which went up by 12.5 per cent over the same period.

Warwickshire and West Midlands saw the greatest increase in thefts from business premises – mainly commercial diesel – which also rose by 45 per cent from 86 cases in 2009 to 115 last year.

Hull and East Yorkshire saw a smaller increase in commercial thefts, by from 70 cases in 2009 to 81 last year.

We requested similar information from forces in Lincolnshire, West Mercia and South, West and North Yorkshire but none of these released official figures.

However, anecdotal evidence from officers appeared to support the view that fuel theft is on the increase nationally.

With this in mind it is sensible to take precautions as temperatures fall to protect your fuel supplies.

Although stopping a very determined thief is difficult most criminals are opportunists and if you make life hard for them they’re unlikely to stick around.

Therefore we recommend a few tips which may help keep your Heating Oil safe from thieves this winter, including:

  • Always ensure you tank is locked
  • Check your oil levels regularly so you know approximately how much you have
  • Try to disguise you oil tanks wherever possible, perhaps behind bushes or trees
  • Consider fitting motion sensitive, security lighting
  • Electric alarms are available that sound in your house or office should your oil level drop suddenly
  • If you are a business that stores a lot of fuel, consider fitting CCTV. Whereas it might sound expensive, but it is cheaper than losing a large quantity of fuel which your business depends on.

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