A heating oil supplier in the Highlands has issued a warning to customers to ensure oil tanks are protected following a recent spate of oil thefts across the north.
Residents from Nairn, Forres, Croy, Dores, Dingwall and Beauly have already reported thefts with the number of victims rising on a daily basis.
OilFast have offered assurances to customers, with Inverness Depot Supervisor Katie MacLeod saying: “Simple things that can be done such as fitting lockable caps, installing an automatic security light, and installing an electronic gauge with an alarm which alerts the householder to any sudden drop in oil level.”
The average price of kerosene heating oil has risen by 14.29 pence over the past 12 months, where it now stands at 55.42 pence per litre, with the thefts expected to leave residents significantly out of pocket.
A police spokesman said: “As with any other type of theft, criminals will always pick on an easy target if it is available. Fuel thieves will always try and find a target where they think they will not be disturbed so security lights which detect movement are an effective deterrent, while it is always worth fitting an alarm.
Forres resident Zoewe Ogilvie, who has been targeted twice in the recent spree of thefts, said: “I’m just gutted and annoyed.”
“We will be thinking seriously now about changing from oil to another source of heating. When we moved into the property we had a full tank stolen then so it is becoming quite a common thing.”
“We were advised previously not to put a lock on our tank as that encourages thieves to drill the tanks which would be more expensive for us to replace. We have two dogs and security lights on the property but they have not even acted as a deterrent.”
“I feel it’s pointless to report the crime. We have mentioned it to a police officer but they’re not going to catch the thief and bring our oil back.”
OilFast have encouraged anybody affected to report the theft to the police and the supplier.
Police Scotland added: “Be vigilant to any suspicious behaviour around your property and report concerns to Police Scotland on 101 as soon as you can.”