heating oil

Heating oil ‘tagged’ to tackle rural theft in Hampshire

Police in rural parts of Hampshire have joined forces with farmers and the rural community in an attempt to trace stolen heating oil by “tagging” it.

They are working with the Farmwatch scheme in the Test Valley to introduce a liquid substance which can be added to fuel to “chemically tag” it.

If it is stolen it can then be traced back to its original owner.

During September, free bottles of the substance will be given out to the rural community.

Colder weather

The initiative comes after fuel thefts quadrupled in western Hampshire last winter, police said.

By adding just 100ml of the liquid to their oil tanks and putting stickers on them, farmers, rural residents and businesses can protect their fuel and deter thieves.

Seven premises in the Test Valley area have been targeted in August and police anticipate there could be an increase in thefts over the coming months as people fill up their heating fuel tanks ready for the colder weather.

Ruth Harper-Adams, from Test Valley Farmwatch, said: “Fuel theft from farmyards not only has a costly impact, it also creates other huge implications, such as delays in farming operations.

“It may also create an environmental problem where tank damage is a consequence.”

oil theft

Oil thieves target business park in Sussex

Sussex Police has urged people to secure their supplies of heating oil

A rise in fuel costs could be behind a spate of heating fuel thefts in rural areas of Sussex, police have said.

About 22 gallons (100 litres) of diesel oil was taken overnight on Sunday from a lorry in Slade Yard, Rye.

The theft comes after about 220 gallons (1,000 litres) of heating fuel was taken from a tank outside the Woodland Enterprise Centre in Flimwell.

Insp James Scott said: “Rural crimes like this can be attributed to the recent rise in fuel costs.”

People have been urged to secure their fuel supplies by using padlocks and installing security lights or CCTV cameras.

heating oil theft

Police warn on heating oil thefts

The isolated nature of some rural homes makes them an easy target for thieves

Rural householders have been warned by police to be vigilant after a rise of heating oil thefts from gardens.

The price of the fuel has risen by 70% in recent months and criminals are said to be using increasingly sophisticated tactics to target isolated homes.

Police have advised homeowners to fit padlocks on their tanks and consider installing alarms.

More than 1.5m homes across the UK, mostly in rural areas, are dependent on heating oil.

The increase in the price of the oil and the isolated nature of many of the homes has made them an easy target for thieves.

David Hamilton, a pensioner who had £500 worth of oil stolen from a tank outside his home, said it “doesn’t take much” for an isolated person to get cold without fuel and heating before going “over the edge” towards hypothermia.

Ian Johnson, of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), said thieves “will do anything” to steal fuel.

He said anecdotal evidence suggests they are using increasingly sophisticated tactics, “including watching the depots, following the lorries, seeing where [fuel] is delivered and helping themselves to the contents”.

Insurers say the average claim for such a theft is more than £2,000, although Mr Johnson warned that “some insurers don’t cover that”.

The BBC’s Louise Hubbal said: “Police say that the oil is being sold on and can even be used in diesel cars.”