Over the past few months, fuel costs in Ireland have reached an all-time high with some filling stations charging more than €2.12 per litre of diesel. In addition, the cost of home heating oil has climbed even higher and faster than other fossil fuels with prices almost doubling from about €400 for 500 litres to almost €800 in just a few months.

Given these rising costs, fuel is quickly becoming a prime target for criminals. For example, a 1,000-litre diesel tank can be drained within minutes and a tank that’s not fully secure will make it even easier for thieves to empty. With some tanks costing thousands of euros to refill, a successful criminal could put their victims into financial hardship with one visit, not only are criminals targeting fuel tanks, but they are now siphoning fuel from vehicles and other machinery.

In recent times, statistics have shown that thieves are now more likely to steal liquids such as diesel instead of the likes of machinery or animals, primarily because it is difficult for the Gardai to recover lost fuel.

As per our our recent crime trends report, fuel thieves, like most criminals, target premises at night time. Whilst longer winter nights are more common for such incidents to occur, it has now become an all-year round problem for those storing fuel on site. For criminals, it’s as simple as using a tube to siphon away the fuel although more sophisticated devices such as pumping systems are now also been used.

Protecting Against Fuel Theft

As always, there are lots of measures which you can take to prevent against fuel theft should you store large quantities of it on your premises. Here are just five tips from our Netwatch Security Experts.

1. Keep Your Tank Locked & Secure

While this may sound like an obvious tip, it is often overlooked or not done properly. Locking a tank with a secure cap may not be enough for thieves who are using pumping systems, they will most likely cut through the cap and will be gone within minutes. Make sure to invest in a high quality lock and although it may not stop the theft, it will be sure to make things a little harder for the criminals.

2. Do You Have Good Lighting?

As mentioned in our crime trends article, criminals like to get to work when darkness falls, for obvious reasons. A reliable lighting system with motion detection will go a long way to dissuade those acting suspiciously.

3. Consider Monitored CCTV

If you have large quantities of fuel and/or other valuable assets on your premises, you may want to considered a monitored CCTV system. Read why monitored CCTV is far superior to passive monitoring. Choosing the right CCTV system can be challenge so you may want to check out our article on this. As a global leader in proactive video monitoring, Netwatch have the ideal solution for you. No power? No problem, our Eco-Commander solution doesn’t require a power source. In summary, monitored CCTV is viewed by many as a valuable tool in the fight against fuel thieves, a reliable monitored CCTV system is far more cost-effective than the contents of most filled tanks.

4. Is It Fenced Off?

Keep your oil tanks close to your premises so you can monitor movement around the tanks, thieves will also be less likely to approach occupied premises. Of course, it may not always to be possible to install high fencing and locked gates, plus doing so may stretch beyond your security budget. Why not consider planting thorns and bushes around your tank, not only will it be less costly, but it’s a greener solution which also creates another line of defence against thieves. Read about proactive protection for the perimeter of your business here.

5. Keep a regular inventory

With many users/work colleagues using the tank, you may not notice if a clever criminal is stealing smaller quantities of fuel. Consider putting a process in place where you carry out regular audits of tank fuel levels, this will help identify any significant drops in fuel level and will allow you yo discover fuel thefts as soon as possible.

We hope this advice will be useful and help you to protect against fuel theft. If you need any advice on protecting your premise, please get in contact with one of our security experts. Click here and complete the short contact form or alternatively you can call us on 1800 1800 00.