POLICE in G District are working in partnership with over 40 oil distribution companies to raise awareness about oil tank protection and help reduce the number of oil thefts in the Limavady, Strabane, Magherafelt and Foyle areas.
As part of the District wide ‘Safe & Secure Together’ campaign leaflets detailing how best to look after your oil tank will be distributed by these companies to residential homes as part of their delivery service.
Speaking at the launch Crime Prevention Officer Rumena McCabe said: “This is a particularly timely campaign given that we are coming into the colder months and more people will be placing oil orders. We are delighted that industry businesses are supporting our efforts to prevent oil thefts in local communities.
“This type of crime hits the most vulnerable in our community the hardest; the elderly people who need heat and warmth to stay well and families who often struggle to meet rising fuel costs. We are asking anyone who notices any type of suspicious activity in their local area to contact us. On many occasions, vehicles will be used to transport oil and if you notice a vehicle which looks out of place or not quite right, please contact us immediately. We would rather investigate something which may appear to be insignificant than miss the opportunity to catch a criminal in the act.”
David Blevings, Northern Ireland Oil Federation (NIOF) said: “We are pleased to support the PSNI and their campaign as during the winter, fuel tanks can be seen as easy targets for thieves. Usually it’s only when people run out of oil and their heating stops working that theft becomes apparent. However, by taking a few simple precautions such as making a regular note of your oil levels will help to ensure that you are not the victim of oil theft.”
Lock your gates: The simple act of keeping your garden or drive gates closed and securely locked can prevent a theft. Ensure that all gates and fences are in good repair. However, please bear in mind that the oil company will need access to your property to fill your tank on delivery day.
Limit the quantity of fuel in your tank: Full tanks are a more popular target, so consider limiting the amount of oil that you have in your tank at any one time.
Lock your tank: Use a good quality, alarmed padlock or install lockable caps. Where possible fit hardened flexible casings, to any vulnerable fuel hoses, so that they are harder to cut.
Consider installing security lighting and CCTV: Lights not only warn you of an intruder but also alert neighbours.