Homeowners urged to step up security on home heating oil
Gardaí are urging homeowners to put measures in place that will help prevent the theft of home heating oil.
The theft of home heating oil exhibits a strong seasonal trend.
With colder weather on the horizon and fuller tanks, incidents of oil theft are higher coming into this time of year onwards.
Examples of measures you can take are:
1. Sitting the oil tank: The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how a thief views how hard a target is. Place the tank as close to the house as regulations allow and in view of one or more windows. This may make the thief consider the chance of being seen too high to risk. Also, ensure the tank is not visible from the road to passing traffic.
2. Security lights: Security lights can have a very positive effect and make property a much harder target for the thief.
3. 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. Also planting, such as, trees or hedging can be used to make the oil tank less visible from the road to passing traffic.
4. Locks/alarms: A good quality closed shackle padlock fitted to the tank opening should be your starting point. There are lots of types of locking systems and alarms on the market for oil tank security.
5. Securing the oil tank: A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank.
6. Oil level gauges: Remote electronic oil level gauges are available which will set off an audible alarm when the oil level drops dramatically, as would happen if there were a leak or theft, and alerts the receiver unit. There are units on the market to-day that will even send a text alert to your mobile phone.
7. CCTV: Installing CCTV may sound extreme. However, small infra-red cameras are fairly cheap these days. A covert camera to record the number plates of any cars or vans entering your driveway could help. It may not stop thieves but could help trace them later. Placing a highly visible camera on your property may act as a deterrent to thieves, especially in areas where natural surveillance is scarce.