Fuel Security News

Norfolk’s Fuel Theft Set to Fall in 2014

Mon, November 10, 2014 - 10:44:00

We sent out a series of Freedom of Information Requests to police forces across the United Kingdom asking for information on the theft of heating oil from oil tanks, as well as the theft of diesel from storage tanks. We excluded theft from vehicles or garage forecourts.

We asked the Norfolk Constabulary to supply us with all the key stats on fuel theft within the last five years. The force responded with a wealth of information, and using their data we were able to get a snapshot at the state of fuel-related crimes in Norfolk.

It’s worth noting that whilst we’ve included the statistics for 2014-2015, the request was originally sent in August, and so we cannot account for the last 2 months and cannot realistically predict the next 2. However, from the levels seem already we can estimate that currently the figures look to be falling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As is common with most reports we are seeing, it seems there is a sharp increase in Heating Oil thefts in 2010, followed by a fall in recorded thefts 2 years later. We could speculate this could be to do with oil prices at the time of the crime, making heating oil a more valuable commodity to enterprising criminals.

We can also see a sharp drop in 2014, but as this year isn’t over and winter is still yet to come, we can speculate this figure will increase by the time we ring in the New Year. Even so, it does seem that this year could be lower than previous years.

Regularly check your oil tank’s fuel level

Obviously with every Freedom of Information request which is granted we will receive a varying amount of data from the Police. This can depend on how criminal statistics are recorded, how the data is entered electronically, and most crucially the nature of the offence. In some cases there is an exact idea of how much fuel has been stolen, in some cases it’s approximate, and in some cases the victims have no idea how much or how little fuel has been taken from them.

Most concerning is the victims who have no idea how much fuel was stolen, we advise that you regularly check your oil tank, not only so that you inspect it and its surroundings to keep it safe and secure, but also to check the fuel levels. If you are unfortunate to have fuel stolen from you, having a rough idea of how much fuel was taken take help you claim back the correct amount on your insurance, whilst also helping the police with potentially valuable information.

One of the worst reported cases involved someone having just under 5,000 litres of heating oil stolen from their tank, a conservative estimate of 60 pence per litre means this theft amounted to just under £3,000 worth of fuel being stolen.

If you’ve ever felt concerned about your oil tank and wanted to know what measures you can take to protect it, read our guide on how to protect your oil tank from opportunistic criminals. If you have any concerns about your tank, please read our Oil Tank Pack – an essential guide to oil heating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consistent with the sharp increase in Heating Oil thefts in 2010, Norfolk also suffered a distinctive increase in Diesel thefts in 2010. We also saw a similar slight drop, and then a resurgence making 2013-2014 the worst year for diesel thefts. Between 2009 and today there were 1,091 recorded crimes, however I believe 340 (or roughly a third) can be discounted, as they largely relate to forecourt thefts.

Whilst these thefts are still significant and help contribute to the larger picture of the state of fuel crime in Norfolk, making off at the pump without paying is a completely different level of crime to stealing thousands of litres of Red Diesel from a commercial enterprise. Where stealing from diesel from the petrol station could opportunistic and worth only £50, stealing a significant amount of fuel from a farm, commercial fleet’s car park, or construction site requires organisation and can be worth thousands of pounds.

The most notable theft from the report is an incident where 15,000 litres of Red Diesel was stolen. Whilst the description doesn’t go into any greater detail, we can estimate that if the fuel were valued at a conservative price of £0.80 a litre this would be worth £12,000. These larger fuel tanks are most commonly found in large industrial parks, and would supply large vehicles and commercial fleets. Thefts on this scale are not from an opportunistic criminal, these are incredibly well organised, and would be specifically targeting tanks of this size – the audacity of stealing such a large quantity is breath-taking, as transporting several thousand litres of fuel is not only time consuming, but difficult to do carry out covertly.

If your company has a tank of this size, it’s imperative you are taking the necessary precautions to protect it from organised crime. Regardless of the size of your fuel tank, the right security measures can ensure that your business capital is protected.

There are three separate incidents of 10,000 litres of Red Diesel being stolen, sadly the description of the crimes do not give us any additional information apart from the fact they were burglaries from ‘non-dwellings’. The most recent incident in 2014 estimates the value of the fuel to be £7,500 which is a huge hit to any business. In late 2014 one of the smaller recorded thefts priced red diesel as £1.00 per litre, which shows how the price can rapidly increase in such a short time, and become a more valuable commodity. This could be one of the reasons why diesel theft increase in 2013-14, and why it’s difficult to speculate on 2015’s potential levels whilst we still have the winter months of 2014 to come.

From the graph you can see that whilst the theft levels do look lower than the preceding years, there is still a chance for the thefts to increase and reach the levels of the previous years. The data shows that thieves are indiscriminate when it comes to targeting fuel; there isn’t a definite model or pattern that is clear to see. However, we think if you do store several thousand litres of diesel onsite it would be prudent to take precautions to make sure your property is protected, and that thieves are deterred from trying to steal from your property.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your fuel, read our guide for more information on how to protect your property from diesel theft.

From the graph you can see that whilst the theft levels do look lower than the preceding years, there is still a chance for the thefts to increase and reach the levels of the previous years. The data shows that thieves are indiscriminate when it comes to targeting fuel; there isn’t a definite model or pattern that is clear to see. However, we think if you do store several thousand litres of diesel onsite it would be prudent to take precautions to make sure your property is protected, and that thieves are deterred from trying to steal from your property.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your fuel, read our guide for more information on how to protect your property from diesel theft.