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    Fuel Security:
    How To Prevent Oil & Diesel Fuel Theft

    With recent rises in fuel prices, security is fast becoming an increasingly important issue for individuals and organisations who keep stocks of oil, diesel and other fuels on-site.

    Increase in demand, and the fact that fuel is worth more than ever, means it is becoming more and more attractive to thieves.

    From domestic heating oil tanks to commercial fuel stores, itís essential to ensure that effective security measures are put in place to protect fuel from theft that could potentially leave victims thousands of pounds worse off, and result in significant disruptions to powering homes and businesses.

    Rates Of Fuel Theft

    Fuel theft is a major and growing problem. According to a recent report, the amount of drivers leaving petrol forecourts without paying has risen by 79% in the past two years due to rising fuel costs.

    In 2022, it was reported that police forces across the country had said that there had been an 89% rise in fuel thefts in the first three months of the year.

    Additionally, fuel theft is often linked to organised crime, making it even more difficult to prevent and combat. This means the scale of the issue, and the amount of fuel being stolen is greater than ever.

    Instances of sophisticated thefts are becoming more common; whereas a few years ago thieves would often make off with a jerry can or two of fuel, now entire tanks of oil or diesel are being stolen, with criminals using professional grade equipment to transport large quantities.

    Who Is Vulnerable To Fuel Theft?

    Alongside those who use heating oil at home, businesses in a variety of sectors are vulnerable to fuel theft. The construction, agricultural, logistics and retail sectors are all prime targets for fuel theft due to the large amounts of fuel that they need in order to keep their businesses running.

    Construction companies, for example, need fuel for their vehicles, heavy machinery, and generators. Agricultural businesses require fuel for tractors, combines and other farm vehicles. Logistics and haulage companies rely on fuel to power their fleets of lorries and vans, while retailers may use fuel for their delivery vehicles.

    Businesses in these sectors often store fuel on-site, making them an easy target for thieves. Additionally, fuel may also be at increased risk of theft when businesses are operating in remote locations, such as construction or agricultural sites.

    Homeowners using oil as a fuel source to heat their homes are also at risk. Fuel is often stored in large tanks situated outside of the home, which makes it a potentially easy target for thieves. This can be devastating for homeowners, as fuel can be expensive and theft can lead to a huge financial burden.

    The Negative Effects Of Fuel Theft

    There are a range of negative effects that fuel theft can have on businesses and individuals.

    Financial

    Perhaps the most obvious negative effect of fuel theft is cost. Fuel can be expensive, and when it is stolen, there can be a significant impact on an organisation or household. This can result in economic hardship for individual homeowners, and potentially impact a companyís ability to do business.

    Property

    Damage to tanks, pipes and other parts of a fuel management or storage system are often common when fuel theft takes place. Not only does this add to the cost of the problem, it may also mean that fuel systems cannot be used until they are repaired or replaced.

    Usage

    Without fuel, essential equipment such as vehicles or heating systems cannot function. The impact of fuel theft may therefore mean that homeowners are unable to heat their homes, or that businesses are not able to use equipment to carry out tasks that are essential to their operation.

    Environmental

    Fuel theft can lead to environmental degradation, as fuel can be illegally disposed of, leading to contamination of local and global ecosystems. Damaged pipes and tanks can also mean that there is hazardous fuel spilled on site, and a potentially costly clean up operation to undertake.

    Personal

    Theft of any kind can be upsetting. Particularly if you store fuel at home, being a victim of fuel theft can be a traumatic experience that can leave individuals feeling vulnerable, anxious or angry. While fuel can be replaced and tanks can be repaired, there is a personal impact that could affect some individuals for a prolonged period of time, and diminish their ability to enjoy spending time in their home.

    How To Protect Your Fuel & Reduce The Risk Of Theft

    Fuel theft can be a serious problem, but fortunately there are a number of ways that businesses and homeowners can protect themselves and keep their fuel safe from thieves.

    Steel Bunded Tanks

    Steel bunded fuel tanks are one of the most effective ways to prevent fuel theft. They are designed to provide secure storage for fuel and other hazardous materials by having dual tanks - an inner tank and an outer tank - which are separated by a bund.

    The outer tank acts as a protective barrier, providing an extra layer of security. This helps to prevent theft by making it difficult to access and tamper with the inner tank holding the fuel, and means that drilling through the wall of the tank is much more difficult than it is with a single skin model. The outer tank also helps to contain any leakages or spills that may occur, reducing environmental damage.

    Made from high quality steel, this type of tank offers enhanced security compared to plastic tanks as it is a tougher and more durable material that is more difficult for thieves to puncture to get to the fuel inside.

    Steel bunuded tanks come in various sizes and shapes and can be used to store a range of liquids including oils, fuels and chemicals. They are extremely durable and long-lasting, making them an excellent investment for companies and individuals looking for a secure fuel storage solution.

    Fuel Caps And Anti-Siphoning Deterrents

    Locking fuel caps are designed to prevent unauthorised access to the fuel tank. They have locking mechanisms that need to be opened with a key, making it diffiecult for anyone without the proper key to open the tank to access the fuel.

    Anti-siphoning deterrents are also effective, as they make it more difficult for someone to syphon fuel from a fuel tank. These deterrents can be in the form of caps that restrict the flow of fuel or valves that prevent the fuel from being syphoned.

    The use of locking fuel caps and anti-siphoning deterrents provides a cost-effective way to protect fuel tanks from theft. Not only do these solutions deter potential thieves, but they also prevent accidental spills that can be dangerous to individuals and damaging to the environment.

    Fuel Management Systems

    Fuel management systems are invaluable tools for any business or organisation that relies on fuel in order to operate. Fuel security is a major concern for many businesses, as it is expensive and can be easily stolen or misused.

    Fuel management systems provide a range of benefits, including to help to ensure that fuel is used efficiently and safely. The systems can track fuel usage and consumption, alerting the user to any suspicious activity or excessive usage. They can help to prevent unauthorised access to fuel tanks, by using systems such as access keys, and can also detect any attempts to syphon fuel.

    Additionally, fuel management systems can be used to automate fuel deliveries. This ensures that the right amount of fuel is always in stock and that fuel tanks are never empty, but that there isnít too much of a fuel surplus stored on site that would be costly to replace if stolen.

    Tank Positioning & Access

    Deciding where to position a fuel tank, and how it will be accessed, are important considerations for reducing the risk of fuel theft, as well as for safety purposes.

    When positioning a tank, it should be placed away from public walkways and roads, but in an area that is easily accessible for regular maintenance and inspections. Think about areas that are not too out of the way so that thieves feel they wonít be seen, yet which arenít somewhere that fuel tanks would be easily spotted by passing opportunists, or that thieves would be able to make an easy getaway from.

    Particularly on commercial sites, access to the tank should be limited to authorised personnel only, and the area should be adequately fenced off, with a locked gate. Fencing should be made from a durable material, such as chain link, and should be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure it remains secure.Tanks should be positioned on level ground and if possible, away from trees, buildings and any other combustible materials.

    Security Lighting & Signage

    Itís a good idea to install security lighting around the perimeter of the tank area that comes on automatically at night. Thieves typically operate at night, and storing fuel in a well lit space means that there is more chance they will be seen, and so can act as a deterrent to theft.

    Signs warning of dangerous materials should be placed around the area, and all access points should be clearly marked, with locks in place to restrict access to authorised personnel only. If you have CCTV systems in place, signage to indicate their presence can also be a deterrent to thieves.

    Piusi Access 85 Fuel Security System

    1600 Litre NTS Steel Bunded Fuel Tank

    CTS Single Channel Tank Alarm

    Defensive Planting

    Planting dense shrubs or other vegetation around the perimeter of the tank area can help to obscure fuel tanks from potential thieves, making them less visible and susceptible to attack.

    Defensive planting such as thorny shrubs or bushes can also be used to protect the tank area, making it much more difficult for thieves to access tanks by climbing over walls, fences or other boundaries. Dense, prickly plants can be almost completely impossible for thieves to get through without causing themselves significant injury.

    The use of plants can also offer additional natural protection, such as from strong winds that may cause damage to the property.

    Diesel Dye

    Diesel dye acts as a deterrent to thieves by acting as a visual marker that fuel has been stolen. Adding dye to fuel will alter the colour, and combinations of dyes can be used to indicate that fuel belongs to a specific organisation or is for use on a specific premises.

    This means that it will be difficult for thieves to sell stolen fuel as there is a clear indication as to where it came from. It can help to trace the fuel back to the rightful owner, making it much harder for thieves to get away with their crime, even if they want to use the fuel themselves.

    The use of diesel dye can act as a strong deterrent, particularly if signs are added to tanks and fuel storage areas to make it clear that the fuel is being monitored and protected, and that it may be difficult to sell any fuel that is stolen.

    CCTV

    The use of CCTV around fuel tanks can be a great way to protect against fuel theft. With CCTV, businesses and owners can monitor their fuel tanks and other areas of the property, allowing them to detect any suspicious activity. This can be especially useful if the business is located in an area with a high rate of fuel theft.

    CCTV footage can be used as evidence if a theft does occur, helping to identify and prosecute the perpetrators. Making potential thieves aware that they are being monitored, and that there will likely be video evidence to help prosecute them for any theft they commit, can deter thieves from targeting a property.

    Install Alarm Systems

    Alarm systems can detect unauthorised access to a secure tank area and alert appropriate individuals to any suspicious activity, allowing owners to take immediate action and reduce the risk of theft.

    Fuel tank alarms can also be used to monitor levels of fuel in a tank, and indicate when the level has dropped below a particular threshold, such as in the event that the fuel is being stolen. As well as preventing theft, alarm systems offer a range of benefits such as protecting against overfilling, as well as indicating if there is liquid within the bund of the tank which could be an indication of a leak.

    Alarm systems can stop thieves in their tracks if they attempt to stel fuel, and also act as a deterrent from attempting a theft if thieves are aware that the area is being monitored. Alarm systems can also be used to detect any tampering with fuel tanks and alert the owner to any suspicious activity.

    Security During Transportation

    Fuel theft during transportation can be a major source of loss for businesses and a safety concern for drivers. To help prevent fuel theft during transportation, there are several steps that should be taken.

    Drivers should be aware of the routes they take and be on the lookout for suspicious activity. They should also inspect their fuel tanks regularly and report any signs of tampering or theft.†Businesses can use GPS tracking systems and fuel sensors on their lorries to monitor fuel levels in real time, and detect any sudden drops in fuel levels that can indicate theft.

    Fuel tanks should also be locked during transport to make it difficult for would-be thieves to access the fuel tank.

    Fuel management systems are also invaluable when it comes to refuelling vehicles and fleets. They can be used to limit access to fuel tanks and make it easier to track who is accessing the fuel, as well as being used to limit the amount of fuel that can be taken from the tank.

    Protect Fuel To Avoid Expense & Disruption

    Fuel theft is a growing problem that can cause significant financial losses and disruption for businesses and individuals. To reduce the risk of fuel theft, it is essential that effective security measures are used to deter thieves and to make it much more difficult for them to access fuel.

    Whether you represent a business requiring advice on safehuidring large quantities of fuel on site, or are a homeowner who wants to protect your heating oil tank from thieves, get in touch with the experts at Northern Tank Store who will be able to discuss the options available and help you find the best solution for your individual needs.

    Contact Northern Tank Store

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