Gardaí issue advice to homeowners following rise in fuel thefts

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DUE to the dramatic increases in the price of fuel in recent months, criminals have begum to target domestic oil tanks.

Garda John Finnerty of Henry Street Garda Station says there are a number of security measures farmers and householders in Limerick can avail of to deter thieves.

He revealed: “The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how a thief views how hard a target is. Place the tank as close to the house as regulations allow and in view of one or more windows. This may make the thief consider the chance of being seen too high to risk. Also ensure the tank is not visible from the road to passing traffic.

Security lights can have a positive effect and make property a much harder target for the thief.”

‘Defensive planting’ can be another effective deterrent, according to Garda Finnerty.

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“Defensive planting is nature’s way of helping to reduce crime. Thieves will not wish to force their way through or over a prickly hedge. Also planting such as trees or hedging can be used to make the oil tank less visible from the road to passing traffic.”

Garda Finnerty continued: “A good quality closed shackle padlock fitted to the tank opening should be your starting point.

“A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank and is probably the strongest method of target hardening.”

Garda Finnerty added that monitored alarms, CCTV and even electronic oil gauges are increasing in popularity.

“Remote electronic oil level gauges are available which will set off an audible alarm when the oil level drops dramatically, as would happen if there were a leak or theft, and alerts the receiver unit. This can then send a message to your phone.

“This may sound extreme, but small infra- red cameras are fairly cheap now. A covert camera to record the number plates of vehicles entering your driveway may help. A highly visible camera may act as a deterrent to thieves.”