A potential solution to the rise of fuel theft

As the price of fuel increases, criminals are setting their sights on rural homes, particularly targeting valuable heating oil. The surge in oil prices due to inflation and global conflicts has led to a significant increase in fuel theft from remote rural properties, resulting in a 244% year-on-year rise in theft incidents, with average costs exceeding £3,000 in 2022. Amid this rural crime wave, safeguarding your fuel is naturally top-of-mind.


Protections against fuel theft

Some homeowners are using alarms, locks, cages, lighting, and CCTV to protect their heating oil tanks — all coming at an added cost. Gravel can help alert homeowners to potential thieves, and hiding the tank with foliage or fencing is another option. However, this is subject to OFTEC regulations. But this may still not be enough to deter thieves, especially since they are reportedly scoping out targets using Google Maps (making efforts to screen your tanks away from public view redundant). Plus, heating oil can be siphoned off within minutes.


The costs and inconvenience of stolen oil

Not only is oil theft inconvenient, leaving you out of pocket and cold, but it can also lead to oil spills which can damage your land, cause legal issues with neighbours and local authorities, and harm wildlife. If your tank is damaged during the theft, then you’ll have to pay (and wait, without heating) for a replacement to be installed.


LPG can stop thieves in their tracks

A fool proof alternative is LPG, which is nearly impossible to steal since it turns into a gas when released from its storage tank or cylinder. It therefore requires specialist equipment to extract from a gas tank. The added danger to a thief if they accidentally pierce a gas tank can also act as a deterrent.

Underground bulk LPG tanks can provide another layer of security since they are harder to spot. As it turns into a gas when released, LPG doesn’t pose the same risks to wildlife or water sources as heating oil.

Not only does LPG offer a more secure option against fuel theft, but there’s a greater security of supply so homeowners can rest assured that their homes will be continuously heated throughout winter. Some tanks can be fitted with automatic re-ordering technology that orders top-ups when needed.


These added protections against fuel theft were one of the reasons why pensioners Janice and Philip Whitelock made the switch to LPG. Read their story here.