Latest News issues Heating Oil Theft Warning

(October 28, 2011) issues Heating Oil Theft Warning

24th December 2010

With media reports suggesting that thefts of heating oil are on the rise across the UK, oil tank security is an issue that has never been higher on the agenda of many homeowners and householders across the country. As one of the UK's leading online oil tank suppliers,'s Steve Beech provides practical advice for homeowners and householders on how to secure their oil tank.

"Would you leave £1,750 lying around your back garden and in full public view?", asks Steve. "Of course, you wouldn't. Yet with oil prices hovering around 70ppl, a typical 2,500 litre domestic oil tank can contain up to £1,750 worth of heating oil. Recognising the value of fuel stored inside a heating oil tank is the first step to securing it.

"Oil tanks obviously need to be accessible, so they can be easily and safely filled. But that doesn't mean they should be positioned in full public view. Instead, try and position your oil tank somewhere that is convenient, yet concealed from nearby pavements and roadways.

"Secondly, fences, trees and plants positioned a short distance from your oil tank can be useful in shielding it from prying eyes and can also add colour to your garden. But avoid, positioning trellises or plants too close to an oil tank - there are legally enforceable separation distances between oil tanks and adjacent structures to minimise fire risk. Your local oil heating technician or Building Control Officer can provide more advice in this regard.

"Thirdly, your choice of tank is important. There are two types of oil tanks - bunded oil tanks and single skin oil tanks. Old fashioned single skin oil tanks can be fitted with as many locking devices as you wish. But whilst they may provide reassurance your tank is secure, the reality is that they will deter only the most opportunist of thieves. By contrast, a bunded oil tank consists of a tank within a tank.

"Whilst bunded oil tanks are primarily designed to minimise the risk of an environmental pollution incident in the event of a spill, they are also considerably more difficult to gain access to, than old-fashioned single skin oil tanks. As an environmentally responsible oil tank supplier, earlier this year became the first national supplier to discontinue to the sale of single skin heating oil tanks. Usefully every bunded oil tank supplied by also comes complete with a lockable manhole lid as standard. Top outlet bunded oil tanks provide further protection against the risk of fuel theft and Harlequin's range of Advance bunded top outlet oil tanks, even incorporates an anti-siphon valve to all but eliminate the risk of fuel being siphoned from your tank. Admittedly, bunded oil tanks can cost considerably more than single skin oil tanks, but even the most expensive bunded tank will cost far less than the value of the fuel stored inside it. For instance,'s entry level, British made, Deso V1340B Bunded Oil Tank costs just £599+VAT but can store up c.£940 worth of fuel.

"Fourthly, locked fill points and inspection points can be a useful deterrent to the opportunist thief. For oil tanks which do not have locks fitted as standard, can supply lockable fill points and access points which can be quickly and easily retrofitted to most tanks. Prices start from just £15+VAT for a Lockable 4" Inspection Point and the range includes Spin Secure's excellent new Fill Point Lock, which over recent weeks has been a consistent best-seller for us. However, it's important to remember that locks fitted to your tank are only part of the solution.

"Put yourself in the position of a thief... just how difficult would it be to gain access to your oil tank? That's why you should make sure that any gates on your property are locked and just as importantly, stay locked when not in use. In fact, by leaving your property unsecured... it's not just your oil tank that's at risk.

"Fifthly, whilst thieves may seek fortune, few seek fame and fewer still seek infamy. They have no wish to be part of the celebrity culture and prefer to shun the limelight rather than bask in it. Modern, high quality CCTV systems are not just affordable and easy to use, but being wireless, they are also incredibly easy to install. They are readily available on the internet and offline at DIY and Hardware Stores.

"Sixthly, whilst we're trying to shed some light on how to secure your oil tank... it's also worth shedding some light directly on to your oil tank too! Motion activated security lighting is practical, affordable and easy to install, but just remember to make sure you adjust the position of the sensor, so it activates when someone approaches the tank.

"And finally, remember to monitor how much oil you actually use. There have been multiple cases of householders looking rather stupid after it transpires their oil hasn't been stolen at all. Instead, they've simply lost track of how much they've used and unexpectedly ran out. Remote, electronic oil tank contents gauges like TankDepot's Apollo system, can help to make running out of oil a thing of the past... and also helps avoid embarrassing conversations with your home insurance provider, not to mention your local Police force. Also available is the Watchman Alarm oil level monitor, which not only monitors how much oil remains in your tank, but activates an internal alarm in the event of a sudden drop in the level of fuel remaining."

Steve says it is however important to place the risk of fuel oil theft in context, "Whilst reported instances of fuel thefts are rising, they are still very much the exception as opposed to the rule. And of course as the price of heating oil rises, then victims of heating oil theft are much more likely to report the crime which in itself explains part of the reason for the rise. The fact remains it's most unlikely that you will ever have your heating oil stolen.

"For thieves, fuel oil is difficult to handle, difficult to store and difficult to sell on. The market for suspiciously cheap heating oil from dubious sources is at best rather limited. For the average criminal in fact, there are much easier ways to make money than stealing heating oil. But by reviewing your oil tank installation and taking a few sensible and common sense precautions, you can make the criminal's life harder still."

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