Could you be the next victim of bulk fuel theft? It’s not as unlikely as it sounds! Recently it’s become more common for organised criminals to steal thousands of litres from underground storage tanks while sites are closed. BOSS shares data and intelligence on this issue with police forces, in particular West Midlands, West Mercia and the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG). So far 11 people have been arrested, three are serving prison terms and eight more are held pending court proceedings.

Thieves target closed forecourts and can take 12,000 litres of diesel in under 20 minutes. Incidents are rare but for sites affected the financial and business impact is obvious. Firstly thieves ensure the site has good stock levels; there’s no point attacking empty tanks. They’ll often contact site staff on the pretext of verifying delivery dates or quantities, and endeavour to determine where the tanks are located with a quick site visit.

Staff training is vital to prevention and security. Never divulge information about deliveries or stock levels without checking who’s asking. Always verify any caller’s name, company, phone number and location as genuine. Only when it checks out should you call back. If in doubt don’t give it out. Recently thieves have phoned posing as alarm engineers. This ruse is intended to obtain security alarm codes without attracting suspicion. Be on your guard against this scam. Take and verify their details and only then call back. If in doubt don’t give it out.

On site, deter access to underground storage pipework. Remote fuel stock monitoring systems continuously check levels and trigger an alarm if a sudden reduction is detected. Securing vehicles above tank manholes can discourage an attack. CCTV, particularly if combined with sensor-activated floodlighting, can also be a deterrent. Sharpen up procedures, too. Check your tank storage area, manhole lids and fill-pipe caps and locks regularly.

Neighbours overlooking the site and regular delivery personnel can be useful as ’eyes and ears’. Ask them to call you or your duty manager if they see anything suspicious. If in doubt, ask them to get full descriptions of people and vehicles involved. They mustn’t confront anyone; just call the police.

Plan and think ahead; if BOSS can help you further please get in touch.