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Scrabster oil theft prompts further warning to protect tanks

By John Davidson

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Oil thieves have been operating in rural areas including Caithness.
Oil thieves have been operating in rural areas including Caithness.

Hundreds of litres of heating oil have been stolen from a property in Scrabster within the last week as people are being urged to take steps to protect against similar crimes.

Rural Watch Scotland – a partnership between Neighbourhood Watch and Police Scotland – issued a warning to people in rural areas including in Caithness to protect their fuel tanks in the wake of a series of thefts.

The organisation said it was important to put measures in place to protect your fuel tank and make it extremely difficult for thieves to target your fuel.

A spokesperson said: “It is very important to be mindful of people snooping around areas looking for opportunities to steal, especially in the days following oil tanks being filled up.

“I am appealing for anyone who has knowledge of who is stealing and selling heating oil and diesel and where they are storing it, to get in touch with police.

“Anyone with information about these thefts and/or wishing to report suspicious activity, contact Police Scotland on 101 or via the Police Scotland website at www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us.

“If the theft is in progress and in an emergency, call 999. Alternatively contact crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

The following tips have been issued to protect against heating fuel theft:

  • Locate your tank in a safe location, remembering that many thieves use Google Maps to find satellite images of fuel tanks.
  • Consider locating your tank behind a garage or shed and away from roads. Positioning it close to your business or home will ensure it’s in clear view.
  • Locate inside a security gate or cage with a good quality, robust fence or cage to make life difficult for thieves.
  • Consider fitting alarms to external gates surrounding your fuel tank or to the inside of a shed or outbuilding that is housing the tank.
  • Fit a fuel theft lock - thieves often come armed with tools so it’s worth investing in quality locks, locking fuel caps and anti-siphoning deterrents to slow down the criminals and reduce the likelihood of success. Locks with a CEN or BSEN 12320 Grade 6 classification indicate maximum security (Grade 1 is the least secure)
  • Install outdoor security lighting positioning your tank in the bright light is an effective solution worth considering. With the majority of thieves striking at night, installing automatic security lighting will help stop criminals from targeting your fuel tank.
  • Install CCTV cameras on your premises to dissuade anyone from targeting your tank as well as catch a thief in the act, providing the police with the evidence required to bring those to justice who choose to ignore the deterrent.
  • Putting up signage to highlight the security measures you’ve installed can help deter those up to no good.

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