Advice to help you look after heating oil

Tayside Police is reminding local residents within the rural areas of Angus to consider the security of their domestic heating oil after recent incidents of theft.

The cost of fuel is expensive and for that reason is targeted by thieves. The recent cold spell also places an extra demand on heating and householders are urged to take some precautions to reduce the opportunities for the thief.

• Consider erecting a metal cage round your tank with a secondary lockable access hatch to the filler cap. Obviously you have to ensure you are available when the tanker driver requires access to fill it up. Any padlock should be the highest quality you can afford and be of the closed hasp design.

• Position of the tank is important. If it is out of view of your house windows and near a path or road then it is easier for the thief to target. You have also to consider access to the tank by the legitimate tanker driver.

• Security lights can have a positive effect and deter thieves. It is not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams. Low energy dusk to dawn lights positioned close to the tank can provide a deterrent. This type of lighting is inexpensive and effective. Movement detectors which operate security lights can also activate alarms.

• Oil level gauges which are remotely operated are now available which set off an alarm if the oil level in a tank suddenly drops or falls below quarter full. These can be bought for less than £100.

• Check the oil level in your tank regularly for any spilt fuel, marks on your lock or any suspicious object alien to your garden nearby.

• CCTV can be deployed to watch over your tank and is a deterrent to thieves. There are many systems available and we recommend you purchase the best you can afford ensuring the camera is capable of capturing pictures at night or with the supplementary lighting you already have.

• Tanks can be stored inside outbuildings but there are strict regulations which must be followed and advice could be sought from the fire service.

For further information and advice contact your local Crime Prevention Officer.

If you have any information you think may be useful to the police contact Tayside Police at 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111.