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Is your business at risk of fuel theft?

Fuel theft has always been a relatively common problem for businesses, but events in the last few months have made the issue even more significant.

Thanks to the rising cost of living, the impact of the war in Ukraine and a new ban on the use of red diesel, a perfect storm has been created which has led to rising fuel prices. This has led to a number of high-profile business thefts, which have been reported widely in the media. 

For instance, in April 2022 a Scottish construction equipment company reported two fuel thefts in just one month, with £1,000 of fuel being stolen from a lorry. In another incident, also reported in April 2022, a suspect stole fuel from patient transfer vehicles used by the NHS in Dorset. A particularly significant theft was reported in Newcastle, with £24,000 of fuel (15,000 litres) being taken from a haulage depot.

So, who is particularly vulnerable to this threat, and what can be done to help prevent it?

Which businesses are most vulnerable to fuel theft?

Hauliers and motor-based businesses are naturally at high risk, but construction firms are also increasingly finding themselves to be more vulnerable. 

This is due to recent changes in the law. From the 1st April 2022, the government removed the entitlement for most industry sectors to use red diesel. From this point onwards, they needed to switch to white diesel, which can be used in any road vehicle without penalty. This has made heavy plant machinery and equipment such as dumpers, power generators and excavators very tempting targets – equipment that is typically found on construction sites.

Farms have also become more vulnerable as fuel prices have soared due to their typically isolated location and the likelihood of large stores of fuel being kept on site. 

What can you do to prevent fuel theft?

Most thefts are opportunistic, so if your business is at risk, you could consider the following:

  • Employing a security guard to monitor your business premises. 
  • Fitting keypad or phone number entry systems to external gates to prevent access to where fuel is stored. 
  • Fitting heavy fuel tank caps and locks. Smart technology versions will also send you an alert if the cap or lock is tampered with or if the fuel level drops unexpectedly.
  • Installing security fencing and investing in high-quality locks. You may also want to consider installing secure cages around fuel tanks.
  • Putting up signs. Signage will not deter a determined thief, but displaying signs that a security guard is on duty, for example, may put off some. 
  • Installing CCTV. This may deter some opportunists but will certainly catch them in the act. Some products are particularly sophisticated and offer remote viewing capabilities and push notifications that can alert you when activity is detected.

You can also put Business Insurance in place that will help to financially protect you if fuel is stolen. Give us a call on 01603 760511 to discuss your organisation’s needs.

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