Fuel theft – reduce the chances of becoming a victim

20 November 2023

A person holding a fuel nozzle over a recepticle

Find out why you should put preventative measures in place to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of fuel theft.

Several incidences of thefts of fuel from domestic and commercial tanks have been reported to the police in recent weeks. 

Kerosene prices continue to be high, and the spiralling costs of heating oil can lead to fuel tanks being targeted by criminals.

Please do consider security measures to deter thieves.

Fuel theft - how to prevent it happening

There are a range of ways you can help increase the security of your tank. 

Create physical barriers

Consider a cage for your fuel tank, this will provide an extra layer for thieves to break through. Fencing and defensive shrub planting will also help obscure your tank from the line of sight and will also prove another obstacle for uninvited guests. Where possible, store the tank where you can monitor it.

Think about who can see it

Place tanks away from rights or way and other easily accessible areas. Use security lights in conjunction with motion sensors and install cameras.

Install audio deterrents

These include gravel or other surfaces with audible qualities. Alarms that work on the principle of movement of liquid inside the tank (drop alarms), filing cap alarms and movement sensor alarms in and around the tank site will help alert you to activity around your tank.

Other issues 

Leaky tanks

Sometimes a leaky tank may give the impression that a tank has been targeted. Leaky tanks can be hazardous to the environment. Attempts to steal fuel may cause damage to a tank's structural integrity and allow hazardous substances into the wider environment. 

Vehicles and machinery

Thieves have been known to steal fuel from inside farm vehicles and machinery. Lock up tractors and powered machinery at night. Where possible keep them out of the view of the public and consider using locking caps.

NFU action – working with the police

The NFU sits on the National Police Chiefs’ Council Fuel Theft Priority Delivery Group. The group aims to identify areas of concern when it comes to the subject of theft of agricultural and domestic fuel. It is an issue that affects members as well as the wider rural community. 

We know that fuel theft is an issue that members may face and would like to see greater support to enable police forces to tackle it. Equally, police cohesion and engagement with other forces would be an important step forward and we would like to see more tactics and knowledge transfer.

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