FUEL thieves are operating in the Larne area and local police have issued advice on how householders, vehicle owners and businesses can thwart them.
The perpetrators showed how low they will stoop when they punched holes in the tank at the Oxygen Therapy Centre charity recently and made off with all the heating oil.
Fuel theft can cause hardship to householders, who are left to pick up the bill not only for replacement fuel but also in many cases needing a new tank. Police are advising owners of fuel tanks on their property and drivers of commercial vehicles, which can carry large quantities of fuel in their tanks, to be vigilant about the risk of fuel being stolen.
Inspector Noel Rogan said: “There are simple steps to take to avoid becoming the victim of this type of crime.”
And he urged: “If you ever notice anything untoward in your neighbourhood, or see unknown vehicles outside premises or on neighbouring land in rural areas, note down any important details such as a description or vehicle registration and contact police immediately on 999. Police will follow up on your call and there is every possibility your prompt information could prevent a crime.”
Preventative steps include:
Measure your fuel - Keep an inventory of the fuel your business uses. Make sure that your vehicle usage lines up with your fuel usage.
Defensive parking - If you have a number of vehicles, consider parking them in full view of the street if at all possible, or try to park them where the fuel tanks are as inaccessible as possible.
Locking fuel caps and anti-siphoning deterrents - There are many products on the market that make the fuel tanks on your vehicle less vulnerable. These can be accessed online to suit your specific needs. Whilst they won’t stop all thieves, they will act as a good deterrent.
Good security lighting - This should brightly light up your defended areas so neighbours and passing police can see in easily. Park your fuel tanks well within the radius of your lighting.
Robust fencing around generators and fuel pumps - Strong perimeter fencing is essential around your premises. These send out the message to would be fuel thieves that the area is hard to access.
CCTV and appropriate signage - CCTV is an effective tool in the box to further deter these criminals. Ensure that all entrance/exit points and vulnerable areas are covered. Good signage is a legal requirement and also provides in itself another effective deterrent.
If you have any concerns, or would like advice, please contact the local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 600 8000.