Warning over Fuel Thefts In New Forest

Recent price rises of up to 70% for heating and fuel oil has raised concern that thieves may strike in the New Forest.

The Safer New Forest Partnership advises residents, farmers and businesses to take steps to safeguard their oil tanks and storage units, particularly if they can be accessed easily by an intruder.

In addition, with the increasing cost of road diesel, more fuel is being stolen from lorries, either parked in their yards or rural lay-bys. 

Those who have heating or fuel oil stored in external tanks should follow these police guidelines:

  • Stop the would-be thief gaining access. A vehicle will normally be needed to remove fuel in any quantity, so keep your yard, or drive gates, locked.
  • Ensure gates and fences are in good repair and install CCTV and control of entry systems.
  • Storage tanks should be situated within sight of your home or office, but out of the view of passers-by.
  • Tanks can be enclosed in strong wire mesh and fitted with strong padlocks. The tank valve, rather than the vulnerable hose and nozzle, should be locked, as should any inspection or filling hatches.
  • Make use of passive infra-red (PIR) operated security lighting to illuminate the tank and the surrounding area at night.
  • Consider security alarms on the tank. Proximity alarms will detect any interference with your fuel tank and alert you via your mobile.

To safeguard against fuel theft from vehicles, follow these police guidelines:

  • Park in a well-lit area and, where possible, vehicles should be kept in a secure area when left unattended.
  • When in a lorry park, park close to the next lorry so the fuel tanks are close together making it difficult to damage.
  • Elsewhere, park with your fuel tank facing the road so passing traffic make it less of a target.
  • Consider fitting an anti-siphoning device and add a chemical fuel dye, which will enable the police to positively identify stolen fuel if recovered.
  • Fit an electronic device that can be fitted to the filler cap that can activate the vehicle’s alarm when tampered with. 
  • Install CCTV to monitor vulnerable areas where lorries are parked.
  • Keep fuel levels in the vehicles as low as possible when not in use and avoid refilling the vehicles before the weekend.

NFDC portfolio holder for crime and disorder and chairman of the Safer New Forest Partnership Joint Action Group, Cllr Goff Beck, said:

“I would urge all vulnerable householders and business owners to take immediate steps to safeguard their fuel tanks by following the police guidance.

“If you do see anybody acting suspiciously around your property, call the police at once.”

For security advice, contact the Safer Neighbourhood Team at your nearest police station, call 0845 0454545 or online at www.hampshirepolice.co.uk