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Spate of oil thefts prompts fresh vigilance call

Brownlow Neighbourhood Policing Team are advising householders to be vigilant of oil thefts after three separate incidents in recent days.

These were reported in the Hillcrest Crescent and Lakeview Court areas when oil tanks were broken into and oil taken.

Sgt Alwyn Peters, Brownlow NPT, said: “We are asking all residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. You should be on the lookout for any activity that is out of the ordinary in the local area and pay particular attention to any lorries, vans and cars towing trailers laden with  containers that would be capable of transporting oil.

“Most oil distributors advertise their company on their delivery vehicles. If you see anyone  loitering around or vehicles that you do not recognise frequenting your neighbourhood, let us know. It is also vital that you keep an eye on your oil consumption so that you are aware of how much oil there is in your  tank.

“There are steps you can take to reduce your chance of being targeted  by thieves: Lock your gates: The simple act of keeping your garden or drive gates closed and securely locked can prevent a theft. Ensure that all gates and fences are in good repair. However, please bear in mind that the oil company will need access to your property to fill your tank on delivery day. 

“Disguise your tank: Consider fencing, trellis and defensive planting. The planting of thorny bushes around your tank and boundaries can provide extra  protection. Planting should not hinder the oil delivery person. Good examples of  defensive plants are Pyracantha, Berberis, Climbing Roas, Hawthorn and even  Gooseberry.

“Create obstacles: Plant pots and general garden paraphernalia can be placed in the path of any potential intruders. They will make noise and  waste time moving the items or navigating around them. You would still need to  ensure an access route for deliveries. Remove and secure any tools or ladders  which could be used as an aide to commit crime.

“Lock your tank: Use a good quality, alarmed padlock or install lockable caps with crop-proof fittings.  Where possible fit hardened flexible casings, to any vulnerable fuel hoses, so  that they are harder to cut. Remember to unlock your tank for deliveries.

“Anti-tamper ‘Commander’ device: A new, anti-tamper device called a ‘Tank Commander’ can be used to raise an alarm and alert your mobile phone  when a possible theft occurs. Further details can be found by searching online  for ‘Commander Securities’ or asking a local Crime Prevention Officer by calling  0845 600 8000.

“Lighting: Consider fitting sensor lights to brighten up dark  areas around your home, particularly areas around the oil tank. “Be a good  neighbour: Check on elderly neighbours or relatives who could be vulnerable to  this type of crime.”

Sgt Peters added: “We take all reports of suspicious activity very seriously. Thieves operate at different times of the day and if  you notice anything untoward in your neighbourhood, or see unknown vehicles outside premises, note down any important details such as a description or vehicle registration and contact police immediately on 999. Officers will follow up on your call and your prompt information could prevent a crime from  occurring.”

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