How To Protect Yourself Against Oil Tank Theft

hidden oil tank installation

While there are a myriad of benefits involved in choosing heating oil for your central heating and hot water systems, there also comes with it an element of risk in the form of oil tank theft—reported cases of which have been growing rapidly in the light of rising fuel prices.  

Rural properties in particular have become the main target for oil thieves, and with the price of oil continuing to rocket, and households stockpiling in their back-garden tanks, criminals have been siphoning off fuel to sell themselves. 

If you’re concerned about the risk of oil tank theft, here are a few handy tips to help prevent this costly, ever-more-prevalent crime.

Beware the risks

The majority of oil theft cases take place during the winter when tanks are generally full, but the risk is present all year round. What’s more, unless you’ve been carefully monitoring your fuel consumption, it can be tricky to determine how much oil has been stolen. Most commonly, criminals will use a tube to siphon off the oil into portable containers, or, in more extreme cases, will pump oil into larger, vehicle-mounted containers. 

Thieves might also cut supply pipes and smash oil level gauges, which can lead to more oil leaking out of the tank, creating further, costly issues in the long term.

Location, location

Because of the size and dimensions of your oil tank, it can be a challenge to keep it hidden on your property from potential thieves. Try to install your oil tank in a position where it’s not visible from the road, but, importantly, in the site lines of your home. Do not install your oil tank anywhere near access points—such as gates, or nearby footpaths, and ensure to keep gates locked and walls and boundary fences in good condition.

gravel path oil tanks

Think security

Installing a cover on your tank will make it invisible on satellite images used by Google Maps, while a robust, high-quality closed shackle padlocks will add another layer of security to your fuel tank. Also consider investing in a fuel cap lock and anti-syphoning device to dissuade the opportunist criminal. Lastly, there’s always the option to install a security gate or fencing around your oil tank to make it difficult for thieves to access.

While there are a number of safeguarding measures you can implement to protect yourself against oil tank theft, you must be sure to comply with OFTEC’s fire safety regulations and ensure that your oil tank is easily accessible for your supplier to fill.

CCTV in the garden

Security lighting and CCTV

Many oil tank thieves will operate at nighttime, so think about investing in motion sensor security lighting—or the more cost-effective option of low energy dusk-‘till-dawn lights.

Meanwhile, CCTV is an effective measure to deter oil tank thieves as it will help you catch them in the act, or make them think twice about entering your property if there’s clear CCTV signage in place.

Install and alarm

Another sure-fire method of safeguarding your tank against oil theft is to install a heating oil tank alarm, which will notify you if there’s any kind of interference  It’s worth noting, however, that an alarm will not prevent your oil from being stolen unless you put up a visible signage indicating that your oil tank is alarmed. You can also choose to install alarms on your house and on access gates for improved security and peace of mind.

Gravel paths

Gravel is an effective, inexpensive method of protecting your oil supply. Simply adding a layer of gravel around your oil tank, the oil tank base, and on the access path, will help alert the property owner to a disturbance thanks to the distinct noise it makes when being walked across. A quick solution that won’t put a huge dent in your security budget.

Join local nieghbourhood watch schemes

If you’re worried about oil tank thieves operating in your area, perhaps cases have been reported in your community with more frequency, then why not join a local neighbourhood watch scheme? Also, find out whether your area is signed-up to the National Fuel Theft Campaign, an initiative founded in light of the recent surge in oil thefts.

CCTV in the garden

How can CT Tanks help?

It can be a costly, inconvenient and distressing experience to have your heating oil stolen. Not only are you burdened by the expense of replacing the lost oil, but also the potential damage that thieves may have inflicted on your property and tank. If you’d like any advice on secure oil tank installation, or any guidance about the best methods of safeguarding your supply, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at CT Tanks. We’d be glad to help!

Posted on September 23rd 2022

Loading... Updating page...