Rural homeowners hit as heating oil thefts up 150%

Rural homeowners hit as heating oil thefts up 150%

Rural homeowners are being hit in the pocket twice by criminals as they fork out for replacement heating oil and clean-up costs due to damaged tanks, a leading insurer has revealed. And thieves have become so brazen that they are returning for a second time to steal the replacement oil.

Now NFU Mutual, theUK’s largest rural insurer, is urging rural homeowners to protect their heating oil supply as theUKprepares itself for another freezing winter.

In 2010, as temperatures plummeted, the cost of the commodity shot up towards the end of the year from 41p a litre in September to 71p a litre in December – an increase of over 70%.

This spike closely followed by an increase in theft of domestic heating oil as thieves cashed-in on rural supplies of ‘liquid-gold’.

NFU Mutual can now report that the first six months of 2011, the cost of heating oil theft rose by 153% compared to the same period in 2010. The east ofEnglandwas the worst hit region for domestic fuel theft.

Costs were partly due to a rise in the number of crimes, which doubled in the first six months of 2011, but also due to the cost of cleaning up any environmental damage caused by thieves.

The most expensive claim dealt with by NFU Mutual in 2011 for clean up costs as a result of oil thrft was over £30,000.

Nicki Whittaker, a rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said :

“Unfortunately while oil prices remain high, rural homeowners will remain a target.

“Rural homes with no access to a mains gas supply have no choice but to struggle with rising oil prices and the additional cost of repeat thefts and potential contamination issues are an added worry for rural dwellers”.

Atkinson Equipment Ltd offer several solutions to deter oil thefts from oil heating storage tanks, Including the new Atkinson Locking fill point cap, locking vent cap and inspection hatch lock. They also offer plenty of advice on how to protect your tank contents using more standard methods on their website :-

Also they offer lots of other oil storage tank accessories on their shopping site :-