Advice on fighting rural fuel thefts

19 Sep 2015

A DORSET firm specialising in oil tankers is offering advice to combat the rise in rural fuel thefts.

Craig Fournier, from Bradford Peverell-based firm Fourniers Ltd, says as well as fitting security devices simple things like the siting of an oil tank can also help reduce the risk of theft.

He is also urging people who have oil stored at their property to make sure it is covered under their home insurance policy.

Fuel theft is becoming an increasing problem for police – last month for example, 250 litres of heating oil was stolen from a property in the same village where Mr Fournier’s company is based.

Mr Fournier said: “Theft of heating and diesel oil in Dorset has been a problem for many years and the police have always noticed an increase in this type of crime whenever the price of crude oil rises.

“A rise in the price of fuel at the petrol pump inevitably leads to a rise in the cost of heating oil.”

“This makes oil a more attractive proposition for the thief and they are now actively targeting fuel tanks at farms, transport depots and domestic properties.”

“The thief may be using the oil for their own central heating or selling it on at a handsome profit.”

Security measures available to protect fuel tanks include locks, alarms and sensor lights.

Mr Fournier, whose firm change up to 800 fuel tanks a year, said positioning the tank so it can be seen from at least one window may also prove a deterrent to thieves.

He said another concern for owners of fuel tanks is the potential of causing pollution by domestic oil spills.

Mr Fournier said in the current economic climate many people are avoiding the need to replace their oil tanks but if they are found responsible for any pollution they could be liable for costs in excess of £50,000.

He said many homeowners believe painting their oil tanks every year will prevent it from corrosion but from his experience metal tanks have a life expectancy of around 15 years and single skinned plastic tanks of between eight to 12 years.

Mr Fournier said the cost of replacing a tank for around £1,000 could potentially save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He added that there were simple ways oil tank owners could reduce the risk of a leak and keep their tanks in the best condition possible.

Mr Fournier said: “If people were to keep on top of their fuel tank condition it could save a lot of money in the long run.”