A thief will usually come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so it’s worth spending a little more on good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to thieves. Due to their design, close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop (shackle) exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip.
Check your oil levels regularly. This will alert you quickly to any problems you may have had. It will also assist the police investigation if you can narrow the crime times down. Always check when you have had a delivery so you have a starting point. Many tanks can be fitted with a gauge to monitor the levels which can be read inside the house.
Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a harder target for thieves. 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 ‘til 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. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.
The cost of CCTV systems has dropped over the past few years, making basic packages more affordable. If you decide to install a system, you should also place a ‘CCTV’ sign on your gate to let any potential thieves know that you are taking measures to protect your heating oil.
If there is a hole in your fence, thieves may be able to gain access through it. Make sure that all of your fences are in good condition and replace any low fences with higher versions to prevent your tank from being seen by passers-by. You should also avoid placing wheelie bins by your fence, as thieves may use these to climb into your garden.
If you have a green thumb, try planting prickly plants such as rose bushes, junipers and holly around your tank. These make a great defence mechanism as thieves generally avoid things that may catch on their skin or clothing and leave forensic evidence.
The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how much of a target it is likely to become.
• Keep the tank in a well overlooked position - this will ensure any thieves are more likely to be seen.
• If your tank is close to the house make sure you can see it from your windows - this coupled with the lighting will make it less of a target.
• Alternatively enclosing your tank in a building which can be secured would be better still.
• Don’t overlook the importance of ventilation if enclosing the tank - advice should be sought from your oil company.
• Always remember that access is required for any deliveries.
Remember, if you are targeted by thieves you should alert the police immediately and report the theft, so that other oil users in your area are aware of the threat. If you witness a theft in progress, never attempt to approach the thief.