SOIL TANKS RAIDED AS PRICE CONTINUES TO RISE
As the recession continues to bite home heating oil is being siphoned from outdoor tanks on a regular basis in the local area. One homeowner in Skeheenarinky had hundreds of euro worth of heating oil stolen from her oil tank on two consecutive occasions.
“I got a half tank in late November which was empty just before Christmas. I knew that I hadn’t used it as I was only turning it on in the morning for an hour and in the evening when I got home. I had no choice but to get more oil for Christmas as the weather was so cold, but again, having monitored it very carefully, I noticed that the oil was gone within weeks,” the woman told The Avondhu.
€800 worth of oil “It was only when my other half was out the back and noticed that our garden hose had been cut, and there were tracks beside the tank, that we realised that we had been robbed. That was over €800 worth of oil gone in the space of six weeks which is heartbreaking as money is tight.”
Old-fashioned siphoning pipes as well as electric pumps and any manner of homemade devices are being used to empty tanks. In some parts of the country, thieves are also using a bitch in heat to distract guard dogs. Homeowners are so worried that many are scattering sand around the tank to check for footprints.
While the problem is widespread, it is believed the majority of cases go either unreported or unnoticed. Today it costs between €810 to €837 for 1,000 litres of oil, and this is expected to rise with the violence in Libya disrupting output.
Crime prevention officer, Garda John Kelly, based in Fermoy said that there has been a steady increase in the theft of home heating oil in recent times.
A number of steps “My advice to householders would be to keep deliveries to a minimum, don’t have an excess sitting there. Due to what’s going on in the Middle East a lot of people may panic and fill up their tanks but this isn’t a good idea. And, if you are having oil delivered, make sure you are there to see it being filled or have a neighbour keep an eye on your property.”
John continued to say that there are a number of steps that people can take to make things harder for the oil robbing thieves.
“For any new build I would recommend that people consider putting the tank at the rear of the building out of sight. Also, planting a bush such as berberis around the tank will make it more difficult to access. If you have an alarm on your house you can also purchase an alarm for the oil tank which will go off when the oil falls below a certain level.”
There have been unconfirmed reports that houses in the Clogheen area of South Tipperary have received calls to the door from people selling 5 gallon drums of oil for €20. In response to this John advises people to only buy from established dealers of oil.
“It is important not to support black market enterprises, people should only buy from their local oil dealer.”
Gardai are urging people to be aware of any suspicious vans or vehicles, particularly at night which is when the thefts usually occur. The thieves use an electric or manual pump and an oil tank can be emptied in 5-10 minutes.
As it would take a number of five gallon drums to take 600-700 litres of oil, a van is most likely being used. It is important to report any suspicious activity to your local garda station.
Thursday 3rd March 5:37pm