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Oil Tank Security and Heating Oil Theft

The rising cost of heating oil over the last few years has led to an increase in heating oil theft so it is important to ensure you are taking all necessary steps to improve your oil tank security. There is nothing worse on a cold winter's day to discover your central heating isn't working because your oil tank is empty!

Heating oil thefts go up during the winter when most people have topped up their tanks and given it can cost several hundred pounds to fill a 1000 litre tank, the loss to the homeowner and the inconvenience can be significant.

Improving oil tank security

There are a number of steps you can take to improve the security of your oil tank including:

  • If you do have an option as to where you locate your oil tank, make sure it is visible from your home and not visible from the road. Also keep the tank away from any external access e.g. gates.
  • Install heating oil tank locks with padlocks that are difficult to crop with bolt croppers (closed shackle padlocks)
  • Protect fuel hoses with hardened cases to make it difficult for them to be cut easily.
  • Install an oil tank alarm that can detect when the inspection cap is lifted or when there is a sudden drop in oil levels.
  • Install an oil tank monitor that allows you to easily check the level of your oil in your tank and can also alert you if there is a sudden drop.
  • If you are installing a new tank, consider installing in a lockable cage or structure to add additional security.
  • Install security lighting around your heating oil tank and CCTV may be another good deterrent.

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Other steps you should consider to prevent heating oil theft

As well as the above steps to improve oil tank security itself, there are other things you can do to prevent heating oil theft at your property including:

  • Shielding your heating oil tank with thorny plants such as roses, hawthorns or holly will make it less visible and act as a deterrent to would be thieves who won't want to risk leaving clothing or traces of blood that could lead to their identification.
  • Make sure access to the garden or location where the oil tank is located is secure. So, for instance, make sure gates are kept locked and any fences or walls are in a good state of repair.
  • Be vigilant as it has been known for thieves to follow oil delivery vehicles to identify properties with full tanks.
  • Sign up for oil theft alerts at Oil Theft Watch so that you are notified of any thefts in your area and encourage other heating oil users in your area to do the same.
  • Get involved with local neighbourhood watch schemes to be aware of what is happening in your local area.
  • Whilst not a preventative measure, make sure your heating oil is covered by your household insurance.

One final important consideration

Taking the steps outlined above will improve the level of security for your heating oil but some of the steps suggested may make it more difficult for the oil delivery driver. In view of this, you do need to consider that, whilst you can make your oil tank secure, you still need to allow access for the delivery driver. This may mean having to compromise on certain security measures such as the location of the oil tank and having to be available when oil is being delivered.


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