Almost 1.1 million households in the UK are relying on heating oil to heat their homes. These homeowners are away from the hustle and bustle, but whilst the quiet life of the countryside can sound appealing, it does come with some risks.
One of those risks is oil theft. Nearly 25,000 cases of oil theft were reported in 2018, and the issue isn’t showing any signs of disappearing anytime soon. In November last year, 30,000 litres of oil were taken from a farm in Wales.
Police forces across the country are also urging people to stay vigilant in rural areas. urged people in rural areas to take extra care after £250 worth of heating oil was taken from a property in Thornton-Le-Moor.
Today, we take a closer look at the latest available statistics and show what can be done to stop oil theft, including what alternatives to oil heating exist to help minimize risk.
Statistics By Region
Based on the latest available statistics, Dyfed-Pows, Gwent, and the West Midlands have experienced the biggest increase in oil thefts across the UK.
- Dyfed-Pows (98%)
- Gwent (80%)
- West Midlands (48%)
Dyfed-Pows has a population of 500,000 is mostly a rural coastline. Gwent is a rural area of Wales and the West Midlands is also home to countryside and off-grid homes.
Port of Dover is the only place listed with zero oil theft reports. the biggest decrease was found in Avon and Somerset, with a 45% reduction in thefts reported.
|FUEL THEFTS REPORTED TO POLICE FORCES IN THE LAST THREE YEARS|
|Region||2018||2017||2016||Change YoY||2016 v 2018|
|Devon and Cornwall||1010||1000||918||1%||10%|
|Avon and Somerset||553||686||1001||-19%||-45%|
|Port of Dover||0||0||0||0%||0%|
Limiting The Risk
If you’re reliant on oil to heat and fuel your home, there are ways you can minimize the risk of theft on your property.
CCTV – CCTV is one of the most common ways to put thieves off from stealing. It can also make you aware of the problem before it’s too late.
Security lighting – Thieves tend to come out at night, so a property that remains well-lit overnight will help to deter them from entering your property. It is another way to put them off.
Lock your tank – It’s always good practice to secure your tank with a padlock. Putting gravel around the tank can also make it harder for oil to be taken, or the tank itself.
Switch gas – Fuels such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) can be a great alternative to heating oil. LPG is almost impossible to steal and storage can come in the form of an underground tank – so it’s out of plain sight.
LPG also has a 20% lower carbon intensity than oil, so it’s more sustainable and better for the environment.
The Winter months
Winter starts in December and doesn’t end until March, so the cold snap can be felt for quite some time. Snow and ice exaggerate the need to stay warm, with the reliance on an off-grid energy supply more vital during this time period.
Police statements have been produced recently to warn residents of the need to be extra vigilant, especially as the pandemic has been causing delays in the export of oil.
Although oil theft will remain as long as oil is a precious commodity, action can still be taken to prevent it from happening, especially for domestic homeowners.