Over recent weeks in Devon and Cornwall there has been a slight increase in reports of theft relating to domestic heating oil and diesel fuel.
Although we historically see a rise in these type of offences over the winter months, this in combination with a recent increase in fuel prices may contribute to this trend and may be an indication of a potential increase in offences over the next few weeks.
Most offences occur in rural areas, but several offences have been reported in an urban setting and in commercial premises where significant quantities of bulk fuel have been stolen. Thefts are often committed overnight, against unprotected tanks and offences often remain unnoticed for some time.
Fuel theft can be reduced with simple crime prevention measures.
Devon and Cornwall police rural affairs team would encourage businesses and members of the public to be vigilant, reporting any suspicious activity to the police, noting descriptions and an accurate location.
• Landowners where possible, should secure gates and block unused entrances.
• Protect heating oil and fuel tanks with locks, lighting, CCTV and fencing.
• Store machinery, vehicles and fuel containers out of sight where possible.
• Consider the use of signage or other means to prevent cold callers to homes, farms and businesses.
• Keep a regular inventory of quantities, so thefts can be identified promptly.
• Notify the police using 999 if you suspect an offence is being committed.
• If you have any information regarding fuel theft please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call the non-emergency number, 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.