Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

November 2013

This months News



Protect against Oil Theft!

Its that time of year again when many of you will be ordering or have had ordered some heating fuel. There have been a spate of heating oil thefts in Ullenhall area of Warwickshire and we would like to offer some advice on how to protect your tanks and property.

Siting Your Oil Tank

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.

Control Switches

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


A thief will usually come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so it's 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! Remember that buying a padlock is like buying a car, the more you pay the better the quality and the longer it will last.

Good neighbour scheme

If possible, work with your neighbours and have the heating oil delivered at the same time. This will allow you to be more vigilant outside of the oil delivery date and some heating oil companies offer a cheaper rate in these circumstances.

Oil Level Gauges

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. Get into the habit of regularly checking oil levels so that you will know if you have lost any.

Security Lights

Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief. It's 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 till dawn' lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity.

Defensive Planting

Defensive planting is nature's 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. These shrubs can, if planted around your tank, provide an effective and decorative thief proof barrier.

Securing Your Oil Tank

Following on from the defensive plant 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 or grill cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security. The wall or fence should be as close to the tank and as high as possible. Of course a trellis could also be decorated with defensive planting. A product called 'Tank Guard' 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 many years.


The use of CCTV as 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 :

1. What do I hope to achieve by using CCTV?
2. How much am I prepared to spend ?
3. 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).
4. What am I going to record the captured images on? Digital recording is best.
5. How am I going to provide the Police with any evidence I may capture?

Additional Advice

OFTEC or the 'Oil Firing Technical Association for the petroleum industry' offers advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises. There are certain rules and regulations that may apply to you and OFTEC will help clarify these for you.

They can be reached at www.oftec.org or by calling 0845 6585 080. They also produce an 'easy guide to domestic oil storage'

Remember be vigilant and report any suspicious activity including registration numbers of suspicious vehicles to the Police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress. Or report it to the team direct on the below details:

PC 1681 Craig Purcell - 07977 456 585
PCSO 6234 Hayley Ditchburn - 07879 608 696
PCSO 6218 Andrew Steventon - 07966 626 908
PCSO 6230 Emma Turner - 07966 626 908

Kind Regards

PCSO 6234 Hayley Ditchburn BA (Hons)
Shipston Safer Neighbourhood Team

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Last modified: October 31, 2013