People living in parts of Norfolk have been urged to be aware of the risk of heating oil theft as temperatures begin to fall and the nights get longer.
With an increasing number of homes, farms and commercial premises refilling their oil tanks at this time of year, the local constabulary has called for residents and business owners to be vigilant and take precautions.
The advice coincides with a police request for people in the Postwick and Brundall areas to look out for a man who has been trying to sell heating oil, the Eastern Daily Press reports.
On the morning of Thursday September 11th, the man visited a farm in Brundall and attempted to sell 500 litres of oil, which the police suspect was stolen.
Believed to have been driving a dark saloon-style car, he was described as white, aged 40 to 45, of large build and bald. Anyone with information relating to the man selling oil or possible thefts can contact the police on 101 or make an anonymous call to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Superintendent Stuart Gunn warned local people that anyone cold-calling them and offering to sell heating oil at a discounted price is likely to be a rogue trader. Anyone who experiences this should call the police immediately.
Supt. Gunn urged oil users to always buy from a reputable source and, once they have taken delivery, to ensure they re-secure their tank and gates.
Have You Been a Victim of Heating Oil Theft?
Anyone who has been the victim of oil theft in the past year and reported it to the police could be eligible to receive a free tank alarm from Norfolk’s Partners Against Crime Taskforce (Pact).
Contact Norfolk Pact on 01953 424727 and quote your crime reference number from Norfolk Constabulary to see if you qualify for the offer. The security device will immediately notify you if there is a quick fall in the oil level in your tank.
Underlining the importance of precautions for heating oil users, Supt Gunn said: “Just as thieves will target vehicles and homes which have been left insecure, criminals will try their luck with tanks where they can easily remove thousands of pounds worth of fuel.
“A few simple security improvements can deter opportunists and ensure you stay warm this winter.”
If you suspect that you have been the victim of heating oil theft, you can notify other heating oil users in your area by reporting it on the Oil Theft Watch website.