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How to Prevent Oil Theft – 8 Security Measures

1st August 2022 in oil

Oil theft is a becoming an increasing issue


As we all know, the UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis. The exponential rise in oil and gas costs plays a highly significant part in this. Over a million households nationwide rely on a domestic oil tank for heating purposes – however, oil theft remains prevalent and in 2018 alone there were over 25,000 incidents reported. As the colder months approach, people will use their oil much more frequently and tanks tend to be at their fullest. So, there’s no better time to take the necessary steps to prevent your oil from theft. By doing so, you can prevent the financial burden of having to deal with stolen oil or a damaged tank.





Install security measures


1. Heating oil tank alarm


An oil tank alarm is a great way to be warned when someone is attempting theft. When the inspection cap on the tank is lifted unexpectedly, or the oil level drops suddenly with no known cause, a notification will be sent to your mobile phone which means you will find out immediately and, potentially, can take action. The Watchman Sonic Alarm is a great example of an effective device which will ensure that you’re always aware of your oil levels. The only downside is that an alarm will not deter thieves unless you install a sign that tells them you have one installed. 




This could work to deter thieves from the premises. However, if thieves were to target you wearing some form of disguise it would be very difficult to identify them - so it’s a good idea to also put up a sign saying something like ‘Warning: CCTV in operation.’


3. Security lighting


Installing security lighting that can sense motion will light up the tank - and if the lights are bright enough they will make you aware of suspicious activity. This method is particularly effective if your oil tank is overlooked by windows.


4. Hedges


Natural deterrents like hedges work well to impede access, given their spikey nature. This also increases the chance of identification as anything getting stuck in the hedge in the aftermath of a theft can be taken to the police as potentially incriminating evidence. 


5. Locks


Although thieves are likely to be equipped with tools to help them destroy anything obstructing them stealing oil, there are a number of ways in which you can utilise locks to make your oil tank as secure as possible:


  • Secure gates which remain locked at all times present a visible barrier to anyone who approaches the oil tank with intent to steal. 
  • Padlocks on the oil tank itself are also effective - especially if you invest in a good-quality, closed-shackle padlock, which is difficult to destroy using bolt croppers.
  • A metal cage installed around the oil tank itself is an even more robust way of securing the tank- this limits the chance of penetrating the tank wall itself, which can still occur if only a padlock is used. 
  • An anti-syphoning device may be used as a relatively inexpensive way of slowing down a theft. If the theft becomes too time consuming, the perpetrator has a greater chance of being caught and it may force them to leave. Acting as a one-way valve, the device shuts off and prevents the flow of oil when there is no positive vacuum applied to the downstream side. This is a great prevention technique given that many successful thefts involve siphoning large volumes of oil into portable containers to be carried away.


6. Keep the tank out of sight


Thieves are attracted to the site of an oil tank because they are often remote and out of direct sight - perfect for a quick getaway, often unseen. Ensure that the tank is not visible from the road to prevent potential thieves from locating your tank easily. Ideally, you want it visible for you not the thieves, so in sight of a window is great. You will be able to see what is happening, and it may work to deter the thieves from stealing if they feel like they are being watched.


7. Noise deterrents 


  • Putting gravel around the tank may increase a thief’s anxiety about getting caught due to the noise generated when it’s stepped on. This is a good cost-effective method. You may already have gravel around your home / premises, so it may make sense to install or move your oil tank onto a graveled area.
  • Installing a steel tank instead of a green plastic one may be a smart idea because although metal ones tend to be a little more expensive, they’re much louder when anyone is trying to get inside them. They’re also much more robust.


8. Get insured


Although this is not a preventative measure, it’s a step you can take to ease the financial inconvenience of repairs or stolen oil should a theft occur. Similarly, you could fill the tank up more often but with less fuel so that if it is stolen, any losses are minimised. 

If you require any help on choosing or taking care of your domestic or commercial oil tank, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly experts. Here at Tanks R Us we’re always here to offer the very best advice and service where possible. Stay safe!

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