With Winter soon arriving and the colder weather setting in, home heating oil will start to become a more attractive target for thieves as many homes will be topping up their heating oil tanks. Oil prices can be more expensive during the colder months and a rise in the price of home heating oil doesn’t just affect customers’ hard earned money, unfortunately it also makes for a more attractive proposition for potential thieves.
Domestic heating oil tanks can often contain hundreds of pounds worth of oil, particularly over Autumn and Winter when you like to make sure your home has a plentiful supply. Like anything else valuable in our homes it’s important to make sure you take the necessary precautions to prevent theft so that you’re not left cold without heating oil or out of pocket financially.
We’ve put together a list of 7 tips to help keep your heating oil tank secure:
Where your heating oil tank is located can have an impact on whether thieves will want to take the risk trying to access it. For those of you who may be installing a new tank or looking to relocate your existing one, there are some important factors to consider.
- Domestic oil tanks that are located close to and in view of the property are often seen by thieves as too much of a risk because it is likely that they could be seen. If you have the space it’s also worth considering whether you could locate the tank inside your garage – that way potential thieves may not even realise you have one. However, don’t forget to follow building regulations and ensure your tank is located in an appropriate place. OFTEC is able to provide more detailed information on this should you need it.
- It’s common for tanks to be located behind the property, often hidden behind outbuildings so that you don’t have to look at an unsightly oil tank. Whilst this keeps it out of view of opportunistic thieves, it does give them the added advantage of being able to gain access without being seen.
- Locating the tank close to a road, path or drive does make it easier for thieves to gain access quickly, however its important to consider that your tank needs to be close enough for an oil tanker to deliver.
Domestic oil tanks aren’t the most aesthetic addition to your garden so it’s common to want them out of sight. However, it’s important to consider the factors mentioned above and try to gain a balance when considering a suitable location.
A good thief will be equipped with tools to help them gain access, so it’s worth investing in good quality locks to secure your heating oil tank. Close shackle padlocks are recommended by several police forces across the UK as they have less of the shackle exposed making it difficult for bottle croppers to gain a grip. As the weather gets colder locks can become stiff so don’t forget to keep them lubricated to help keep them in good working order.
Remote electronic oil level gauges can be installed which will set off an alarm if your oil level drops suddenly or falls below a certain level. The remote display can be kept somewhere convenient in your home to alert you to potential problems. Whilst they are a good tool to both prevent and, also alert to a theft, they are also a useful reminder to top up your tank if you are running low. These are easily available online at various price points.
Security lights can highlight suspicious activity on your property and deter potential thieves. There are a wide range of options available, and whilst you can install high level flood lights, subtle low energy lighting can also be effective. The important factor is ensuring that your lights are placed in a good location such as close to the tank. Even if your tank is located close to your property and is already well lit, it’s also worth considering installing lighting at access points to your property to help deter those unwanted visitors.
Planting prickly shrubs and bushes around your domestic oil tank can not only be a great deterrent to potential thieves, it can also be an attractive addition to your garden. A small shred of ripped clothing or a tiny trace of blood can be a huge help to police when identifying thieves so it’s more unlikely that an opportunist will want to take that risk.
In recent years CCTV has become a much more common method of crime prevention. A good CCTV system can be expensive so its important to consider things such as positioning, lighting and data storage to ensure that your cameras are effective.
Installing fences and walls around your tank and property can be a deterrent for thieves as it makes the job more difficult for them, however don’t forget that whilst you want to keep thieves out you need to make sure your tank is still accessible for heating oil deliveries.
Whilst there are a number of steps you can take to keep your home heating oil secure, it’s important to be vigilant and if you notice large suspicious vehicles close to your property then be sure to record their details and report it to the police.