Meath Crime Prevention has issued timely advice to the public to help avoid home heating oil theft.
This comes at a time when oil prices are what Gardaí described as “increasing dramatically”.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the government announced a temporary reduction in the excise duties charged on petrol, diesel and marked gas oil.
As a result, excise duty reduced by 20 cent per litre of petrol and 15 cent per litre of diesel.
Furthermore, there has also been a reduction of 2 cent in the excise duty charged on marked gas oil.
These reductions will remain in place until August 31st, 2022.
The Department of Finance expects temporary reductions in excise to reduce the cost of a fill of a 60-litre tank by €12 for petrol and €9 for diesel.
Home heating oil theft: How to prevent:
- Check oil levels frequently;
- Try to arrange smaller but more frequent oil deliveries;
- Install automatic movement sensor security lighting around the tank;
- Plant shrubs or erect fencing to screen tanks from view from the road;
- Install and use lockable access gates, and erect lockable fencing around your tank, including over the top;
- Consider fitting an alarm system that warns if the oil level drops suddenly;
- Be vigilant following a delivery;
- Be aware thieves may return to steal replacement oil following an initial theft;
- Note suspicious vehicles’ registration numbers and report them to Gardaí.
Gardaí also provided examples of improving the security of domestic heating oil tanks, including;
- Sitting the oil tank: The tank’s position can have a significant impact 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;
- Security lights: Security lights can have a very positive impact and make property a much harder target for the thief.
- 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, you can use plants such as trees or hedging to make the oil tankless visible from the road to passing traffic;
- Lock: A good quality closed shackle padlock fitted to the tank opening should be your starting point;
- Securing the oil tank: A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank and is probably the strongest method of target hardening. A metal or grill cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security;
- 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 today that will even send a text alert to your mobile phone;
- 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.
- Monitored alarm: Many farmers, in particular, are going for new security products on the market that monitors your yard by wireless beams when you are not there. When activated, if somebody enters your yard, you are notified by a monitoring station on your phone.