Oil Theft in Rural Areas and How to Prevent

There are over a million homes across the UK, which rely on heating oil outside for energy. This situation only attracts thieves to which in 2018 there were over 25,000 oil thefts reported and the problem is continuing to exist. In November 2020, there were 30,000 litres of oil were stolen from a single farm in Gwent, Wales.

The North Yorkshire Police have also urged people living in rural areas to take extra care after after £250 worth of heating oil was taken from a property in Thornton-Le-Moor.

Here with Flogas, we look at some statistics on show what can be done to prevent oil theft, including switching energy supply.

The stats

Stats recovered between 2016 and 2018 revealed that Dyfed-Pows, Gwent, and the West Midlands have experienced the highest increase of thefts across the three-year period.

  • Dyfed-Pows (98%)
  • Gwent (80%)
  • West Midlands (48%)

Dyfed-Pows is predominantly a rural area with a coastline and contains a population of about 500,000. Gwent, as previously mentioned above, is another area in Wales that has rural areas, whilst the West Midlands is also home to stretches of countryside and rural homes.

Out of 23 areas looked at within this study, only Port of Dove experienced no oil theft. Avon and Somerset recorded the biggest decrease, with a 45% decrease in thefts reported between 2016 and 2018.

FUEL THEFTS REPORTED TO POLICE FORCES IN THE LAST THREE YEARS
Region201820172016Change YoY2016 v 2018
Greater London137991574314739-12%-6%
West Yorkshire412348394624-15%-11%
South Yorkshire277933132529-16%10%
West Midlands2215219815011%48%
Hertfordshire213224781965-14%9%
Lancashire21211933146710%45%
Cambridgeshire189021781456-13%30%
Staffordshire1817166214399%26%
Essex145318881755-23%-17%
Merseyside120815021533-20%-21%
Devon and Cornwall101010009181%10%
Northumbria8369261153-10%-27%
Norfolk8137545818%40%
Suffolk6936434888%42%
Bedfordshire5711284994-56%-43%
Cleveland559625598-11%-7%
Avon and Somerset5536861001-19%-45%
Dyfed-Powys54245427419%98%
Durham13310313929%-4%
Gwent90715027%80%
Derbyshire576861-16%-7%
North Wales192420-21%-5%
Port of Dover0000%0%

Take action to Prevent

If you live in a rural area and are relying on an oil tank to bring heat and energy to your home, there are multiple options

Consider CCTV – Installing CCTV would prove to be a quite effective measure to deter thieves from targeting your property. It can also alert you to the crime as its happening, instead of you finding the problem afters it’s too late

Set-up Security Lighting – Many thieves target properties at night, so lighting up your property would be a good way to stop them targeting your property. Security lighting tends to be bright enough that you can notice what’s outside from the comfort of your home.

Secure your tank – Thieves tend to work with tools to gain access to your tank. Thus, it would be a good idea to invest in a good padlock and secure your tank. You can also discourage them further by putting gravel down around the area to make it harder for them to access it.

Switching from oil to gas – You can utilise alternative fuels to heat your home such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Unlike oil, LPG is almost impossible to steal and can be stored underground and out of sight of thieves, giving you peace of mind without having to install extra safety measures. Converting to LPG can be done via an oil to gas conversion.

LPG is also a cleaner alternative to oil, with 20% lower carbon intensity, so your impact on the environment would be sufficiently reduced.

Always be prepared

Winter seasons tends to last from the end of December until the end of March, meaning the country during that period experiences the worst of the cold season.  Snow and ice tend go magnify the need to stay warm indoors, especially for those living rurally and are reliant on their heating supply.

Avon and Somerset Police have been known to post statements on their website to warn residents to be extra cautious as the demand for oil grows, especially when the new norm we live isn’t very predictable and likes of pandemics can cause delays to heating oil deliveries, which can make households even more vulnerable to thefts.

Despite that eradicating oil isn’t an easy task, there are still measures that can taken to prevent it from happening.