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Preventing fuel and Heating Oil Theft

People using oil to heat their homes have felt the pain of high prices for some time now with many heating oil tanks costing nearly £2,000 to fill. Farmers using red diesel for their agricultural machinery are also sitting on a valuable asset particularly if someone stealing the red diesel then goes on to illegally use it in their road vehicle.

Petrol stations are acutely aware of the problem of fuel theft and fit substantial CCTV systems to try and catch motorists who drive off without paying. We are now seeing a steady stream of people wanting to use CCTV to protect their domestic heating oil. For over 5 years now there has been a steady stream of reports concerning Heating and fuel oil theft.

People using heating oil present a particularly interesting problem. The very fact they heat their property using oil means they are most likely to be in a rural location. If they go out to work during the day this makes them easy pickings for a would-be fuel thief. To make matters worse many people have their heating oil topped up automatically. Every so often a lorry comes round, checks the tank and tops it up as required. So a tanker turning up when there is no one at home raises no suspicion. What if the driver removes rather than adds fuel! Even small-time heating oil thieves can get away with several hundreds of pounds worth of fuel using just a van and some oil drums.

For many people, CCTV is proving to be the answer and it doesn't have to be overly expensive, well under the cost of a tank of fuel. You also get to protect the rest of the property with additional cameras in the deal. Particularly now that HD CCTV is a credible option for homeowners more and more people are fitting it. Protecting against this type of theft is a perfect application for the motion-triggered alert facility which is built into all our DVR recorders. You set a virtual trigger area on-screen and if the DVR senses movement within it a bookmark is placed on the recorded footage allowing you to search by event rather than time. You can even have the DVR email you a picture of what triggered the alert.

Here is a screenshot image from one of our B6 series day night CCTV cameras fitted with a 2.8-11mm varifocal lens. As well as the tank the camera is covering a downstairs window which is often left open. The lower image shows how zooming in improves detail capture.

A camera covering a window and also a heating oil storage tank

oil tank cctv1.jpg

The same camera zoomed in to improve detail capture

oil man2.jpg

Here is a nighttime image from the same camera

oil night2 3.jpg

With our 4 channel DVR recorder, you would still have 3 other inputs to take cameras from around the property. All footage is stored securely on a hard drive which can be remotely accessed over the internet if needed. Features such as motion detected recording and email alerts are also standard on the unit.

When looking at different ways of protecting fuel oil and heating oil from theft mechanical methods can usually be bypassed, especially if you are not bothered about the amount of collateral damage caused. Alarms require not only someone to be present but also prepared to confront the thieves. By the time a monitored alarm is responded to the thief will be long gone. CCTV offers a solution that presents no risk to the home or business owner and offers a genuine chance to prosecute the criminal. For help and advice feel free to call us during normal office hours. We can look at your property using internet images whilst talking over your specific needs.