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Protect your heating oil tank from theft

Theft from heating oil tanks is up by a worrying 51% in 6 years, and with oil tanks often holding thousands of pounds worth of kerosene - theft can have a huge financial impact on families as well as leaving homes without heating.

Thieves will often syphon, pump or decant fuel from a tank that they have targeted either opportunistically, through researching a local area or even by following an oil delivery truck. Thefts are more common during the first three months of the year when the weather is colder and heating oil has a higher black market value. However, heating oil theft can happen at any time during the year so it pays to be vigilant!

There are some steps you can take to protect your heating oil from thieves including:

Choosing a secure tank

Tanks made from robust materials such as steel, have a higher possibility of withstanding attempted thefts. Thieves will often try to drill through a tank to gain access to the fuel inside or even lift the tank away entirely, but steel tanks are harder to drill through and much heavier than plastic tanks.

Camouflage your tank

Keeping your tank well-hidden will go a long way in protecting your heating oil from theft. There are some steps you can take to make sure your tank is hidden from the sight of potential thieves including; setting the tank away from the view of the road and covering it with foliage to disguise it. If possible store your tank indoors, either in a garage or outbuilding or if it meets OFTEC standards- in your house.

If you must store your heating oil tank outdoors, try to keep it visible from the house at all times- the possibility of being seen will deter criminals.

Insure your oil tank

Many homeowners who rely on heating oil are unaware that traditional home insurance doesn’t cover theft or damage to heating oil tanks. To ensure that you are covered in the event of theft you should purchase heating oil tank insurance, this also often covers related incidents such as damage to the tank or oil spills which can be costly to clean up!

Other measures

To further protect your heating oil tank against theft here are some other steps you can take:

  • Install CCTV- this is a deterrent to thieves and may help catch culprits.
  • Add motion sensor lighting to the area surrounding your tank - this may startle and scare potential thieves.
  • Use a tank cage as an added layer of protection.
  • Fit your tank with an alarm and sensor. Using a smart alert sensor you can detect if your tank suddenly becomes low on fuel, alerting you to any possible thefts.