Barton Petroleum logo

Fill in the details below and we will find your local depot so you can obtain the latest heating oil prices

How many litres? (min. 500)

First part of postcode (e.g. NN1)

Simple steps to safeguarding your heating oil

26th March 2015 All News and Offers

secured-oil-tankA recent report from the Northamptonshire Chronicle and Echo about a thief leaving empty-handed after he attempted to break into a house and heating oil storage tank in a Northamptonshire village is a reminder that, however rare, heating oil thefts can happen and you should take reasonable steps to ensure that your heating oil tanks are secure.

The Police recommend thinking about the information below when improving the security of your tank. The more steps you take to secure your home heating oil the better, but only taking a few steps can deter the average thief, the majority of whom will be deterred by making it heating oil more difficult to steal.

Where can we put it?

The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how hard a target it is in the eyes of the thief. If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable of giving a view of it, then the thief may consider the chances of being seen too high. If the tank is close to a road, path, drive or alleyway then it will be a far easier target. Hiding the tank behind the  garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding is fairly commonplace, but it does give the thief the advantage. Not many oil tanks are works of art so who wants a tank in full view?  While it may not be desirable, or legal, to have the tank close to the house some sort of compromise location would be sensible. Of course this will not only be a major consideration when a new tank is to be installed but may be necessary if the tank has been targeted before! They do need to be within a reasonable distance of the road otherwise the oil supply company may not Not many oil tanks are works of art so who wants a tank in full view? While it may not be desirable, or legal, to have the tank close to the house some sort of compromise location would be sensible. Of course this will not only be a major consideration when a new tank is to be installed but may be necessary if the tank has been targeted before!  They do need to be within a reasonable distance of the road otherwise the oil supply company may not be able to refill it for you!

A Switch In Time

Control switches that control the flow of oil should be turned off and the electricity supply isolated when the tank is not in use.

Locks Stock and Barrel

A good thief will come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so its worth spending a little more on good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to the most popular of burglar tools – the bolt cropper!  Due to their design, close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop (shackle) exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip. Remember that buying a padlock is like buying a car the more you pay the better the quality you get and the longer it will last.

Oil Watch

Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen or perhaps a utility room to warn of any potential problem. There are two or three different versions on the market at the moment and cost between £70 and £100.

Lights On

Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief. Its not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams, as a more subtle level of lighting may be all that is needed. Low energy “dusk til’ dawn lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both effective and inexpensive. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.

Defensive Planting

This is natures way of helping to reduce crime. Thieves will not wish to force their way through or over a prickly hedge. The smallest trace of blood or shred of ripped clothing could help the police identify the offender. Gloucestershire Crimestoppers produced a leaflet several years ago which shows the advantages of Defensive Planting and provides a list of shrubs suitable for this purpose. These shrubs can, if planted around your tank, provide an effective and decorative thief proof barrier.

Fence Me in

Following on from the defensive planting tactic, fences and walls can also make life difficult for the thief. A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank but it must be remembered that the oil tanker driver will need access to fill the tank! A metal grill or cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security.  Following on from the defensive planting tactic, fences and walls can also make life difficult for the thief. A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank but it must be remembered that the oil tanker driver will need access to fill the tank! A metal grill or cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security.  A product called Tank Guard has just become available which surrounds the existing storage tank with a metal enclosure. This sheet metal enclosure has lockable access doors to allow filling and maintenance and has internal anchorage points to fix it to the concrete base. A tank guard costs less than one tank full of oil and will last for many years.

Big Brother

The use of CCTV as a crime prevention and a crime detection tool has grown massively in recent years. It could play a part in the protection of oil tanks but before you spend lots of money on equipment make an assessment of your needs. Ask yourself:

  • What do I hope to achieve by using CCTV
  • How much am I prepared to spend
  • Is there a reasonable level of light where the cameras will be operating or do I need to think about using cameras with low light capability? (most thefts take place at night).
  • What am I going to record the captured images on – digital recording is best?
  • How am I going to provide the police with any evidence I may capture?

Source: Cambridgeshire Police

For more information on securing your heating oil tanks, including the installation of smart meters, please contact your local depot and we will be happy to offer any help we can.