First of a series of crimestopper articles from the West Norfoplk Safer Neighbourhoods Team
It has recently been brought to our attention from local residents that there is a growing concern for the security of oil tanks and their contents.
If we could ask that you take a moment to read the following tips on helping keep your oil tank safe and secure.
CRIME PREVENTION TIPS:
Whilst it may not be desirable to have a tank placed right next to the home, placing tanks out of sight offers thieves maximum opportunity to access the tank without being seen.
Fuel tanks should be situated within site of nearby occupied buildings and not hidden from sight behind outbuildings or large machinery. The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how hard a target it is in the eyes of the thief. If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable of giving a view of it, then the thief may consider the chances of being seen too high. If the tank is close to a road, path, drive or alleyway then it will be a far easier target. Hiding the tank behind the garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding is fairly commonplace, but it does give the thief the advantage. Not many oil tanks are works of art so who wants a tank in full view? While it may not be desirable, or legal, to have the tank close to the house some sort of compromise location would be sensible. Of course
this will not only be a major consideration when a new tank is to be installed but may be necessary if the tank has been targeted before. They do need to be within a
reasonable distance of the road otherwise the oil supply company may not be able to refill it for you.
Defensive planting is nature's way of helping to reduce crime. Thieves will not wish to force their way through or over a prickly hedge. The smallest trace of blood or shred of ripped clothing could help the Police identify the offender.
Following on from the defensive planting tactic, fences and walls can also make life difficult for the thief. A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank but it must be remembered that the oil tanker driver will need
access to fill the tank! A metal grill or cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security. The wall or fence should be as close to the tank and as high as possible. Of course a trellis could also be decorated with defensive planting.
Control switches should be located in a secure building and the electricity supply turned off when the tank is not in use.
Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen, or perhaps a utility room to warn of any
Potential problem. There are two or three different versions on the market at the moment and cost between £70 and £100.
A good quality locking device should be fitted to all fuel tanks. This should be tested to withstand attack so look for products which carry the "Sold Secure" logo. Whilst a determined thief will come equipped with a range of tools a locking device for either the tap or the cap can make the difference between success and failure for the thief. A high quality shackled padlock will make access using bolt croppers very difficult.
Consider perimeter security for the whole tank, e.g. metal cage or fencing.
Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief. It's not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams, as a more subtle level of lighting may be all that is needed. Low energy 'dusk 'til dawn' lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both
effective and inexpensive. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.
If you require further advice about your fuel tank or any other Crime Prevention Advice then please contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 456 4567.
If you have any information about fuel thefts or any other crimes then please contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously, you could receive a cash reward for your information.
We would also like to remind you all that if you do see anything suspicious, then please call 0845 456 4567 to report this.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this.
Watlington Safer Neighbourhoods Team
0845 456 4567 0800 555 111
Watlington Safer Neighbourhoods Team Crimestoppers