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Police issue warning as heating oil thefts in Norfolk rise

PUBLISHED: 14:28 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:42 08 December 2017

Police have urged residents to be vigilant following a rise in the number of heating oil thefts across Norfolk over the past year.

The county has seen more than 110 thefts of heating oil reported so far this year, compared with a total of 100 in 2016.

Community Safety Superintendent Jason Broome said: “An increase in the price of heating oil can result in oil tanks being targeted by thieves and we would urge people to take some simple measures to secure them.

“Just keeping an eye on oil levels in your tank and fitting a good quality locking device is a good start, but we’d also recommend installing security lighting or CCTV cameras.”

Supt Broom said anyone who spotted something suspicious at a friend, neighbour or relative’s house, or at a nearby business premises, should call police on 101, or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

He said: “This also includes calling police immediately if you are cold called by someone trying to sell you heating oil at a discounted price.

“It is likely the individual will be a rogue trader so you should turn them away.

“Always buy from a reputable source, and once your delivery has been made make sure you re-secure your tank and gates.”

Police recommend:

- Check oil levels frequently to be aware if anyone has tampered with your supply, and consider an electronic oil level gauge which sets off an audible alarm if the oil level drops below a quarter full.

- Fit a good quality locking device to all fuel tanks – a high quality closed shackle padlock will make access using bolt croppers very difficult.

- Consider perimeter security for the whole tank, such as a metal cage or fencing.

Even a prickly hedge may help deter thieves. Remember, however, that the oil tanker driver will need to access it.

- Control switches should be located in a secure building and turned off when the tank is not in use.

- Consider appropriate lighting around the tank so you can see and anyone can be seen. Be considerate to your neighbours and don’t use high powered lights which affect their property.

- If you are installing an oil tank or considering repositioning it.

They should ideally be situated within sight of nearby occupied buildings.

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