Heating oil thefts in Wealden stop after police operation

Police who arrested two men during a special operation to stop thefts of heating oil say there have been no more similar thefts in Wealden since then.

This picture, supplied by police, shows an example of a van converted to store heating oil.

This picture, supplied by police, shows an example of a van converted to store heating oil.

The crackdown came after one resident had all their heating oil stolen a week before Christmas and couldn’t afford the cost of refilling. Wealden Police and a local heating oil firm came together to donate a small amount of oil to see the resident through the festive period. See our previous story.

With the problem increasing across the district a month of high visibility action was arranged. Operation Zero was aimed at disrupting criminals involved in this activity.

The arrests came in the first week of the operation after a van was stopped, seized and searched.

Wealden District commander Chief Inspector Dick Coates said: “Criminals working on Wealden should take note, my team will proactively target all types of crime with zero tolerance. We stopped over 200 vehicles on Operation Zero.”

Ch Insp Coates added: “I will continue to direct my officers’ patrols to combat all types of crime in future.”

The police said that the location of oil tanks can be a critical factor. Ideally they should be within sight of your home but not visible from the road.

They said: “If tanks are visible, plant hostile (thorny) shrubs around your tank. Thieves will think twice before forcing their way through a prickly hedge and the smallest trace of blood or shred of ripped clothing could provide enough forensic evidence to identify an offender.”

If you use heating oil and would like to discuss security advice police invite you to call 101 or visit www.sussex.police.uk.

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