Cambridgeshire police is again offering crime prevention advice as the winter months approach and heating oil thefts may occur.
Many householders, commercial premises and farms will start using more oil and filling up tanks as the temperature gets colder and the nights get longer.
While the number of oil thefts reported to police often increases during the autumn and winter months, there are basic measures that can be put in place by families and businesses to protect their fuel.
Sergeant Jon Hiron said: “Theft of heating oil has been an issue for rural areas for some time, but it can be a particular problem at this time of year as home owners get their supplies for the winter months.
“Coupled with rises in the cost of fuel, oil has become a much more attractive target for thieves.
“Following the crime prevention advice offered last year, Cambridgeshire has seen theft of heating oil drop by almost half. Clearly the public took note as we have seen heating oil offences drop by 208 in 2013-2014 to 112 in 2014-2015.
“Whilst we will do everything we can to catch the criminals, we need your help to prevent the thefts occurring.
“Security measures are just the start and we need communities to be more vigilant and report suspicious activity. This also includes reporting cold callers selling oil at a discounted price.”
A few simple security improvements can deter criminals and prevent them from stealing much needed oil:
· If possible, place your tank out of sight
· When the tank is not in use turn off switches controlling oil flow and isolate the electricity supply
· Fit a close-shackle alarm padlock
· Install a remote electronic oil level gauge – if there is a sudden drop an alarm goes off
· Install security lighting – either floodlights or low-level ‘dusk till dawn’ lights
· Prickly hedges provide an effective ‘defensive barrier’ around the tank
· Protect the tank with a fence or wall – get a tank guard, metal or grill cage to cover the top with a lockable access point
· CCTV can improve security, so carry out an assessment of what you need