As domestic heating oil prices continue to rise, the fuel stored in your tank is a valuable commodity and it can become atempting target for thieves. Oil theft is on the increase and as winter comes on its common to see stories in the press about oil being stolen, especially in rural areas. The theft itself isn’t the only problem, thieves will often damage tanks whilststealing oil and this can lead to leakage and result in contamination of the surrounding soil which will need an expensive specialist clean up. The very fact that you’re using oil for heating means that you’re probably a little off the beaten track and may not have near neighbours. This presents potentially easy pickings for a thief but fortunately there are some simple steps you can take tohelp protect your fuel and ensure that your supply stays secure. Lock ’emup At the simplest level you can fit locks to your tank inspection covers and fillers. These are an effective deterrent and relatively inexpensive. A specially designed locking cap will be a little more costly but is likely to be more secure than apadlock as they’re not easily removed using a crowbar or bolt cutters. If your tank is located in an outbuilding make sure it’skept locked up at all times. Stay Hidden By their nature oil tanks tend to be large and easily seen and this makes them uniquely vulnerable. If your tank is visible from the road or a public footpath consider planting shrubs or erecting a fence so that passers-by can’t see it. Having security lighting near your tank is a strong deterrent too as criminals don’t like to be seen in their activity. You might also consider a security camera – even if it’s only a dummy – to provide a further deterrent. Raise the Alarm If you want a more sophisticated anti-theft solution there are alarms that can monitor the level in the storage tank and send out an alert when there’s a sudden drop. This can be used to trigger an audible alarm to scare away a thief or to send a signal to a remote receiver so that action can be taken. If the worst should happen then taking out insurance on your oil can cushion you from the pain of having your heating oilstolen. You can take out a specialist heating oil policy to ensure that you’re covered. Some household policies will cover heating oil but not all do so it pays to check your policy and take out extra insurance if necessary. Oil theft is a problem but by taking a few precautions you can ensure that you don’t fall victim to it and that your supplyremains secure this winter. With domestic heating oil prices rising it pays to become a fuel fighter and take steps to secure your oil against theft.