POLICE have issued a host of top tips in a bid to keep oil thieves away from rural areas of Burton and South Derbyshire this winter.
Forces in both areas are looking to act early to make sure that a spike in the crime was not recorded over the coming months.
Analysis over the past two years has shown that both areas saw an increase in heating oil thefts at around this time of year.
Inspector Jon Ward, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Oil theft has remained at a consistent level in Staffordshire over the last few years and while it is not a huge problem we would always encourage potential victims to take measures to protect their tanks/fuel.
“By being aware and taking simple precautions you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of crime.
“No-one wants to be a victim of crime, so it really is beneficial to be pro-active and take measures to deter thieves from your property.”
Homeowners should consider doing the following to ward off thieves:
1. Fitting a lockable cap or padlock to your tank;
2. Installing a motion detecting security light;
3. Buying a fuel gauge alarm;
4. Displaying a warning message to say that tanks are alarmed;
5. Installing a CCTV camera; and
6. Looking out for suspicious vehicles, especially on the day of oil deliveries.
Nationally, 37 per cent of all rural properties rely on heating oil and with the increases in prices of all types of heating commodities it becomes more of a target for criminals.
The contents of a typical oil tank can cost as much as £1,000 to replace so can have significant affect on the business involved.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: “We would like to encourage members of the public to take on board the advice being given by officers to ensure their oil is secure as possible and hopefully prevent them becoming a victim of this type of crime.”
Anyone with concerns about oil related crime should call police on 101.