Heating oil thefts from homes on rise: police

Foyle police today warned homeowners to be vigilant following a rise in home heating oil thefts in Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady and Magherafelt.

PSNI Area Commander Chief Inspector Chris Yates said householders must keep a close eye on the level of oil in their tanks.

He said: “A quick phone call to your oil company will indicate when you got your last delivery and you can work out how much you have been using.

“If you believe a genuine theft has taken place, call the police.

“This type of crime is on the increase and in order to help prevent it, we need members of the public to report any suspicious activity of this nature to us.”

A number of home heating oil thefts have taken place in the Derry area in recent months and they are hitting homeowners particularly hard after the recent cold snap in the North West.

With the sharp increase in oil prices worldwide, the economic pinch is being felt across the board. Police have urged homeowners to be aware of their own level and rate of oil consumption to avoid being targeted.

“There have been a few circumstances where police have made further inquiries and it has become apparent that the oil was not stolen but that the homeowner had misjudged the last time their tank was filled and how much oil they were really using,” said Inspector Yates.

He assured the public that all reports of home oil theft will be investigated thoroughly.

“My officers will be taking a robust pro-active approach towards this type of crime and all reports will be investigated thoroughly. Police are trained to look for telltale signs that show that an oil tank has been tampered with and a full investigation will be conducted to gather evidence that will lead us to those responsible.”

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