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Posted by Neil Brunskill
Business owners and members of the public in Northern Ireland may be taking extra precautions to safeguard their fuel after a series of incidents involving theft recently.
Police in County Down are investigating the theft of a lorry in Donaghcloney on Friday (July 27th) that was spotted on security cameras in the early hours of the morning, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
It had a pale blue cab and a dark blue curtain trailer and is a 40ft articulated vehicle.
Officers believe that the thieves took it purposely to aid them in stealing 25,000 litres of fuel siphoned from tanks at a quarry near Newtownards.
It is hoped that taxi drivers or anyone using Belfast Road, Holywood Road, Dunlady Road or Carrowreagh Road that night may have seen something that will help with the investigation.
There is also growing suspicion that the crime is linked to another in Crawfordsburn the week before last, when a family-owned filling station had £10,000 of diesel taken from underground tanks.
Meanwhile, police in south Down this week discovered 14,000 litres of home heating oil that had been dumped on pallets in Kilkeel.
It is not yet known why the fuel had been abandoned, but it was worth around £20,000 and would have come from local people who bought it to heat their homes.
North Down Democratic Unionist Party spokesperson Gordon Dunne told the Telegraph he is shocked.
"There is now a very real problem with crime of this nature taking place and action must be taken by the police, assisted by the local community, in trying to prevent and deter such incidents," he commented.
The politician called the thieves "mindless thugs" and further criticised them for targeting hard-working ordinary people.
Fuel customers and suppliers were also warned to be on alert by the Irish Petrol Retail Association in case of further incidents.
Heating oil customers are advised to use all possible security measures such as tank locks to safeguard their supplies against this kind of crime.
If you have been the victim of a heating oil theft in the last year, visit BoilerJuice's new oil theft watch service to make an anonymous report or to register for free oil theft alerts in your area.
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