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Rural Crime Alert - Fuel Theft

Alert shared via Rural Watch Scotland.

The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) and Police Scotland have seen a significant rise in fuel theft in recent months across the whole of Scotland.

Fuel Theft costs the rural economy in Scotland a disproportionate amount every year. It was thought to be a seasonal crime, however over several years this has proved to be incorrect. It was also thought to be an opportunistic crime, but again, this is not necessarily the case. In particular there are two main discernible areas for this this type of theft. Domestic, particularly in rural locations and commercial often from forestry sites and HGV’s. 

This crime affects many in rural communities especially those who may be vulnerable and causes significant costs for companies trying to operate in forestry sites and farms. Crime groups will target oil companies and follow them for both domestic oil and red diesel to farms and rural properties as well as targeting forestry and windfarms.

Fuel Tank Prevention

It is important to put measures in place to protect your fuel tank and make it extremely difficult for thieves to target your fuel.

Position in a safe location 

Many thieves use Google Maps to find satellite images of fuel tanks. Consider locating your tank behind a garage or shed and away from roads. Positioning it close to your business or home will ensure it is in clear view. Remember to locate the tank away from any risk of obstruction and ensure it is easily accessible for delivery drivers. Locate inside a security gate or cage - a good quality, robust fence or cage will help make life difficult for thieves.

Install an alarm

Consider fitting alarms to external gates surrounding your fuel tank or to the inside of a shed or outbuilding that is housing the tank. 

Fit a fuel theft lock

Thieves often come armed with tools so it is worth investing in quality locks, locking fuel caps and anti-siphoning deterrents to slow down the criminals and reduce the likelihood of success. Locks with a CEN or BSEN 12320 Grade 6 classification indicate maximum security (Grade 1 is the least secure).

Install outdoor security lighting

Positioning your tank in the bright light is an effective solution worth considering. With the majority of thieves striking at night, installing automatic security lighting will help stop criminals from targeting your fuel tank. Low energy dusk till dawn lights are a low-cost option to protect your expensive fuels and oils.

Install CCTV

Installing visible CCTV cameras on your premises can dissuade anyone from targeting your tank as well as catch a thief in the act, providing the police with the evidence required to bring justice to those who choose to ignore the deterrent. Put up signage to highlight the security measures you have installed can help deter those up to no good. 

These could include: Private property, Keep out, Warning CCTV in Operation, All vehicles are left with minimum fuel, Security patrols in operation, All vehicles fitted with security devices etc. 

Here are a few more simple tips on how to protect your fuel tank from theft

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