As you may know, home heating oil is not cheap. Often bought in bulk, heating oil is usually stored in large outdoor tanks or ‘bowsers’ which are located safely away from the home, making it a prime target for theft.

Rising costs of heating oil mean theft has been on the rise, so we have put together a list of measures you can take to prevent this from happening.

Choose a tank with anti-siphon

Thieves can use a siphoning device to decant fuel oil into another container which they will later use or sell, so it can be a good idea to purchase a tank with a built-in anti-siphon device or purchase one separately.

An anti-siphon valve is a device installed in the fuel supply piping at the top of the tank. They ensure the flow of liquid is only able to go one way, meaning that fuel can be deposited into the tank, but thieves cannot siphon fuel out of the tank.

Security equipment

CCTV equipment is a preventative measure that can dissuade potential thieves, and can help you identify thieves should the worst happen.

Some fuel tanks feature remote oil level monitors which will emit an audible alarm in your house once the oil in the tank drops below a certain level. This can also be helpful for helping you arrange delivery of new fuel oil.

Bunded tanks

Although generally more expensive, bunded fuel tanks generally offer a more secure way of storing your fuel.

Bunded fuel tanks feature an extra layer of tank, preventing you from losing all of your oil in the event of a leak, they also make it much more complicated to access.


Check with your home insurance provider to find out if your heating oil and tank are covered in the event of an emergency.

Some policies may cover it but others may require additional premiums. This can be a great idea as often heating oil tanks can be damaged during theft and will save you forking out of your own pocket.

Good security is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of fire or health and safety. Ensure your fuel tank still follows the OFTEC guidelines.

Safety regulations

OFTEC guidelines state the legal guidelines for tank storage to ensure the safety of surrounding inhabitants and the environment:

  • 8m away from non-fire rated eaves of a building
  • 8m away from a non-fire rated building or structure (e.g., garden sheds)
  • 8m away from openings (e.g., doors and windows) in a fire-rated building or structure (brick-built house/garage)
  • 8m away from oil fired appliance flue terminals
  • 760mm away from a non-fire rated boundary such as a wooden boundary fence
  • 600mm away from screening (e.g., trellis and foliage) that does not form part of the boundary

Report heating oil theft

If you notice any suspicious activity, try to take down as much information as possible, note down car registrations, descriptions or take photographs which can help further down the line. If you notice a theft in progress, immediately dial 999.

At Western Fuel, we offer fuel oil at affordable prices, with quick delivery and friendly service. If you require home heating oil, commercial solutions for industrial and agriculture use, we can help. Get in touch today and we will be happy to accommodate your requests. If you wish to speak to our team, call 01278 431451 or email