Sunday, 9 December 2012

E-Cops - E-cops Update

We have had a total of 5 crimes reported to us since my last ecops message. Please see the relevant ones below.

Between the 04/12/2012 and the 05/12/2012 unknown offenders have entered the feed room, on a stable site in Scotland Road, Dry Drayton.A quantity of feed was taken.

Between the 08/12/2012 and the 09/12/2012 unknown offenders have stolen a bowl and metal pole from Menzies Hotel in Bar Hill.

There were three incidents last weekend where oil worth several hundred pounds was siphoned from tanks.

Thieves stole fuel from a tank in Fen Drayton, between 6pm on Friday (November 30) and 6pm the following day, in Caxton between 2pm on Friday and 7.30am on Monday and in Odsey, Baldock, between 2.30pm on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday.

We are working hard to tackle this and have stepped up our pro active patrols around these areas. I have included some security advice below - please take the time to read this as it could reduce the chances of you becoming a victim to this type of crime.

Theft of heating and diesel oil has been a problem for many years and the police have noticed an increase in this type of crime whenever the price of crude oil rises. A rise in the price of fuel at the petrol pump inevitably leads to a rise in the costs of heating oil. This makes oil a more attractive proposition for thieves who are targeting fuel tanks at farms, transport depots and domestic properties. The thieves may be using the oil for their own central heating or selling it on at a handsome profit.

Tanks can contain many thousands of pounds worth of oil and it therefore makes good sense to take a few precautions to protect them. The purpose of this information is to give the reader a few ideas about what can be done to make life more difficult for thieves.

OFTEC or the ‘Oil Firing Technical Association for the petroleum industry’ offers advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises. There are certain rules and regulations that may apply to you and OFTEC will help clarify these for you.

They can be reached at www.oftec.org or by calling 0845 6585 080. They also produce an ‘easy guide to domestic oil storage’.

POSITIONING OF YOUR OIL TANK

The position of the tank can have a significant effect on how hard a target it is in the eyes of the thief. If the tank is close to the house, with one or more windows capable of giving a view of it, then the thief may consider the chances of being seen too high. If the tank is close to a road, path, drive or alleyway then it will be a far easier target. Hiding the tank behind the garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding is fairly commonplace, but it does give the thief the advantage.

While it may not be desirable, or legal, to have the tank close to the house some sort of compromise location would be sensible. Of course this will not only be a major consideration when a new tank is to be installed but may be necessary if the tank has been targeted before. They do need to be within a reasonable distance of the road otherwise the oil supply company may not be able to refill it for you.

CONTROL SWITCHES

Control switches that control the flow of oil should be turned off and the electricity supply isolated when the tank is not in use.

PADLOCKS

A thief will usually come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so it’s worth spending a little more on good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to the most popular of burglar tools; the bolt cropper! Due to their design, close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop (shackle) exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip. Remember that buying a padlock is like buying a car. The more you pay the better the quality and the longer it will last.

OIL LEVEL GAUGES

Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen or perhaps a utility room to warn of any potential problem. There are two or three different versions on the market at the moment and cost between £70 and £100. Get into the habit of regularly checking oil levels so that you will know if you have lost any.

SECURITY LIGHTS

Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target to the thief. It’s not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams, as a more subtle level of lighting may be all that is needed. Low energy ‘dusk till dawn’ lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both effective and inexpensive. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.

DEFENSIVE PLANTING

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. The smallest trace of blood or shred of ripped clothing could help the police identify the offender. These shrubs can, if planted around your tank, provide an effective and decorative thief proof barrier. If you would like more information about defensive plants to protect your property contact your local community safety team on 101

SECURING YOUR OIL TANK

Following on from the defensive plant tactic, fences and walls can also make life difficult for the thief. A wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank, but it must be remembered that the oil tanker driver will need access to fill the tank! A metal or grill cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security. The wall or fence should be as close to the tank and as high as possible. Of course a trellis could also be decorated with defensive planting. A product called ‘Tank Guard’ surrounds the existing storage tank with a metal enclosure. This sheet metal enclosure has lockable access doors to allow filling and maintenance and has internal anchorage points to fix it to the concrete base. A tank guard costs less than one tank full of oil and will last many years.

Closed circuit television (CCTV)

The use of CCTV as crime prevention and a crime detection tool has grown massively in recent years. It could play a part in the protection of oil tanks, but before you spend lots of money on equipment make an assessment of your needs.

The object of this information has been to illustrate ways in which we can make it more difficult for a thief to steal heating oil. Nothing mentioned here will make it impossible for them to achieve their goal, but if some of the suggestions made are followed it just may make a difference.

If you wish to report a crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non emergency number which is 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me on bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk if you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind Regards

PCSO Buajr Mani 7009
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team