WEST Mercia Police have issued a warning to households in Herefordshire as thefts rise.

Data from police forces across England suggests heating oil theft is most likely in the first three months of the year when tanks are likely to be full and the days are short.

Police said that tanks have the potential to store thousands of pounds worth of oil and are often located in remote areas.

This, they say, makes them an attractive proposition, especially with the mix of cold winter weather and the current energy price crisis.

West Mercia Police has now released a guide for anyone who owns a heating oil tank to keep their home safe from theft.


Firstly, officers says tanks should be as far away from a road as possible. This should stop opportunistic thieves from spotting a tank whilst driving past and will also stop a quick getaway.

Secondly, they say if a tank is exposed, concealing it with a fence, wall, or foliage from the garden is a good idea, while leaving room for servicing, maintenance, and deliveries.

Thieves can often use satellite imagery from apps such as Google Earth to spot oil tanks if they are exposed.

A good way of preventing this is to, if possible, install a roof over your tank to prevent it being viewed from above.


Officers also told people to try and keep tanks visible from inside homes, and install a good quality lock and CCTV if possible.

“There is no greater deterrent for thieves than the idea of being caught,” they said.

West Mercia Police said that whilst the chance of being targeted is relatively low, heating oil theft can occur all year round so it pays to be vigilant.