Theft of oil

06 September 2021

Tips and advice to help protect external oil tanks from oil theft.

Close up of oil being poured from a bottle

Oil theft is increasing

As the cost of oil rises so do heating oil thefts. The first indication that a theft of oil has taken place is usually when the heating system doesn’t work.

How to prevent oil theft

There are some measures you can take to protect against theft of oil:

  • Conceal the location of the tank – it should be away from any gates and out of sight of the road
  • Monitor the level of oil in your tank regularly
  • If the tank is situated inside a building, make sure doors are locked securely at all times
  • Consider installing security lighting to cover the tank
  • Ask nearby residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police
  • Padlock the valve. This may not always prevent thieves as they may smash the valve completely, but it can act as a visual deterrent
  • Fit hoses with a hardened, flexible casing, this will make them harder for thieves to cut through
  • Lock the gates at night to make it more difficult for a thief to escape with oil
  • Consider installing alarms or CCTV.

Oil storage regulations

The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 apply to England and similar regulations apply in Scotland and Wales. Good practice suggests that everyone should follow these regulations.

Even if they don't apply to you, you still have a duty to avoid causing pollution and could be prosecuted for failure to do so. The regulations aim to ensure you store oil safely and minimise the risk of pollution.

You can find more information on how to prevent oil thefts as well as specific oil storage regulations in our Oil storage and theft guidance notes.