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UK hit daily by oil heating thefts

Police are dealing with a growing number of oil heating thefts across the UK and are urging homeowners and businesses to secure their tanks.
A domestic tank full of heating oil can contain up to £1,000 worth of fuel and with the high price of oil, police report the number of heating oil thefts have increased considerably.

Norfolk Police Force is investigating 36 reported cases of heating oil theft throughout the county since January 1 2008.

More incidents in recent months have occurred across the UK including Cornwall, Oxford, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In the Dyfed-Powys area, 59 oil heating thefts were reported to police this year. The figure is, up from only 15 thefts in the area last year.

At least 15,000 homes in the UK are heated by oil and most of these are in rural areas of the country.

Suppliers say that due to the rising price of fuel, their delivery trucks have been followed and drivers have been given training to deal with oil hijackers.

Mark Nolan, managing director of Nolan Oils in Middleton Stoney, said his delivery trucks have been followed by thieves.

His customers have also phoned to say they've used their oil quicker than usual and fear it may have been stolen.

Nolan Oils, a family firm which has been supplying heating oil to homes and businesses for 30 years, has been aware of thieves targetting commercial properties but now homeowners are being hit in greater numbers.

'We are seeing more reports of theft from oil tanks every day - heating oil users are growing more and more fearful of thieves who siphon oil from tanks and sell it on at a discounted price', said Mark Nolan.

The company has issued advise to its customers. It advises locking up oil tanks, restricting where possible, vehicle access to tanks, regularly checking the fuel level to spot if the level quickly drops and it also recommends installing a tank sensor.
26 June 2008

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