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Theft of heating oil from churches

The cost of heating oil has increased significantly recently and this has resulted in more thefts of oil from churches and elsewhere.

The first indication that a theft has taken place is usually when a church’s heating system doesn’t work. The assumption is often made that the boiler is at fault, but regrettably the problem is often simply no oil. Thefts vary from small amounts being stolen, to the whole tank being drained. The methods used by the thieves can be very crude, including drilling holes in the side of the tank and then filling jerry cans.

So what can churches do to prevent such losses?

  • Monitor the level of oil in your tank regularly.

  • Conceal the location of the tank by using hedging, fencing or walling. You may need a Faculty to do this.

  • Securely lock doors at all times if the tank is situated within a building.

  • Consider installing security lighting to cover the tank if the churchyard is overlooked from nearby buildings. Again, a Faculty will be required for this.

  • Ask nearby residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.

  • Encourage visits to the church, which reduces the time available to thieves.

  • Padlock the valve. This may not always be the correct course of action, as thieves may smash the valve completely, but it can deter a less determined thief.

  • Lock the church gates at night to make it more difficult for a thief to escape with oil.

  • Consider alarm devices which may be suitable depending upon location.

For more information or further advice, please contact your local Insurance Consultant and Surveyor.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.