Thieving scum

We’ve just had to splash out £421 on our emergency credit card to buy 1,000 litres of heating kerosene because someone siphoned off about 500 litres from our tank in the past three weeks or so.

We use around 1,000 litres over winter and I check the tank once or twice or month so I can tweak our central heating if it looks like we’re using kerosene too quickly.

When I checked the tank last week, it had gone from just over 600 litres to just under 100 litres — in two weeks!

Normally, the missing 500 litres would see us through to April. We decided to replace it with 1,000 litres as the price worked out cheaper and it will give us our summer supply as well—thieves permitting.

I couldn’t work the discrepancy out at first, thinking we’d either had a leak or some sort of major glitch, but after ruling those out I had a few suspicions.

The delivery driver confirmed those suspicions, saying there’s been a fair amount of heating kerosene and oil stolen of late.

We don’t have a lockable tank, but the driver said that even if we did have a lock on it the thieves would simply jemmy open the plastic tank or cut a hole in with a rechargeable drill and hole saw.

They use vans with high-capacity pumps and tanks in the back and, according to the driver, can siphon fuel off as fast as he can deliver it — 1,000 litres in five minutes of less.

He predicted there would be a lot more thefts as fuel prices rise.

As for the culprits, the driver blamed the same people who come around offering us “surplus” generators, “unwanted” red diesel, “overstocked” televisions and the like.

The same people who also snoop around the croft, taking a particular interest in the cockerels, the outbuildings and the house and, when caught, offer to lay bitumen hard standing for us.

Of course, if you report it to the police—and there’s often little point—you have to be very careful not to be accused of being racist.

They may have Irish accents, drive about in Transits with large caravans behind and be as bent as a fiddler’s elbow, but that doesn’t mean they’re members of the “non-settled community”.

Oh no.

Well, it doesn’t matter to me. And it doesn’t matter if it was someone matching that description or someone else entirely.

I have a simple description of people who come here and steal heating kerosene and cockerels, and try to offload dodgy property on us.

Regardless of cultural leanings, accents, or appearances, I call them all “THIEVING SCUM”.

17 Responses to “Thieving scum”

  1. How awful! That’s really shocking.
    If fuel prices continue to rise we can expect it to be siphoned out of car tanks as well.

  2. not good, not good at all. definitely feeling for you at the moment stonehead.

  3. mummys little angel Reply 7 February, 2008 at 18:57

    By the heck Stoney, the lengths some will go to!

    Thanks for the heads up as I too had the Irish generator salesman round, looking shifty. But I don’t think he could find my tank as it’s not near my house and behind my caravan.

    I knew by the look at him, and they way he was looking around and the fact and the fact that I am not on the beaten track, he may be after more than just me buying a generator.

    Will warn my neighbour!

  4. Any hope that you are covered by insurance? That is a big lump of money to lose.

  5. It’s a huge sum for us. But zero chance of getting it back on the insurance as we’d need to prove how much was left, when it went and show that we hadn’t just used it up.

    I’ve also looked at our contents insurance and heating oil does not appear to be covered. It’s not specifically excluded, but the small print rules out a lot of things that aren’t specifically included.

    We’ll be able to make up about £200 fairly quickly from the money we’d normally put aside each month to pay for the summer kerosene. The remaining money will be more of an issue, especially as the car is due for a major service (I do the minor ones myself), we’ve just spent £200 on seed, and we’ll have a two-week gap between buying our next batch of livestock feed and the next batch of pigs selling (that’s because of the ripple effect of foot-and-mouth last year).

    Life’s always interesting on a croft or smallholding.

  6. Nasty thieving bu**ers…Don’t know what to suggest, unless you’d consider keeping a guard dog in a kennel within a chains length of the tank…sad and in some ways immoral one has thoughts in this vein, but I’ve undergone something of a sea change since being comprehensively beaten up by three twenty-somethings a couple of years ago…

    It was three in the morning amd they were conversing in low (but audible) tones outside my side gate for over twenty minutes, and (with a wife and kids to think of) I asked them (nicely too!) if they’d mind moving on…two of them did, but it was only then (too late) I realised there was a third and he was behind me…

    I’m still convinced they were contemplating an entry via the side gate, and I think the third guy had been recceing the rear of the house…Apart from injuries it cost me a £200 pair of glasses…to be fair the police turned up PDQ but they’d disappeared…anyway, since then I’d say anything you can hand out is still too lenient…

  7. I had a couple of teenagers try to mug me at knifepoint near Spitalfields market in London quite a few years back. I smacked the one with the knife in the head – double-handed with a 5kg bag of potatoes. It gave the police a few laughs.

    One of the worst instances was when we lived in Skipton, North Yorkshire. We were renting a house and had only been there a short time when a couple of thugs tried to smash their way in through the back door in the early hours of the morning.

    I locked the heavily pregnant Other Half in the bedroom with our oldest, then three, and told her to phone the police. I went down, turned the lights on and shouted that the police were on the way. When the police arrived, very, very quickly, they asked what I was doing with the large and heavy poker, to which I replied I was making sure the fire was out. ;-)

    The police suspected they’d targeted the wrong house, as there was a very elderly, housebound lady in the house next door. Both houses backed onto a field and looked much alike, and there had been instances of thugs smashing their way into the houses of elderly people.

    Up here, I’ve run two scum off with a muck fork. They were snooping about the outbuildings when I found them, and claimed they were looking for “the boss”. They didn’t like being told “well, you’ve found him, now p*** off before I feed you to the pigs”. They started on about doing the drive, but retreated very fast out of the steading and into their van as I advanced on them, fork at charge arms, and shouting “hah”.

    I must have looked a right nutter in my mud-splattered wellies and boiler suit, stocking cap down over my ears, crusty and very sharp muck fork to the fore, and roaring like an old bull. No wonder they buggered off…

  8. Is there some locking device you can fix to the tank to stop them siphoning off more in the future?

  9. It’s a plastic tank, so they’d either lever it open (smashing the plastic) or, as the driver said, drill a hole in it with a rechargeable drill and hole saw.

    The old oil tank is still here. It’s inside a building and made of 3mm steel plate, but unfortunately it’s now illegal to use it. It’s a shame as it’s much, much more thief proof.

  10. Can you not just bury the tank?

    Sorry to hear about the theft mate. I have a bit spare if you need a financial top up. Not much, but it all helps.

  11. Thanks for the offer, but we’ll get by. We almost always do.

    As for burying the tank, there are umpteen environmental and fire regulations that apply — which is why the old tank is out of use.

    We need a bunded tank due to having a private water supply, then it has to be 1.8m from the eaves of buildings, 1.8m from flues, 1.8m from non-fire rated buildings and structures, 0.76m from a non-fire rated boundary (we have stone dykes but the gates are wooden), and 1.8m from openings in a fire-rated structure (doors and windows). Any new or altered installation is also subject to getting a Building Control Notice from the council.

    What I’ll probably do is empty the tank by the end of the summer and then move it inside the steading. I’ll need to put in a solid base and dig a trench for piping, but there’s an elevated spot relative to the house that could be used. Then I’ll have to pay for a council inspection.

    I did consider bring the old steel tank up to scratch, but that turned out to be a major job. The tank would have to be bunded, the room it’s in would have to be certified as 60-minute rated fire chamber, and the door would have to be self-closing and open outwards (and be openable from the inside without a key).

    Nothing is simple these days!

  12. Deep, deep sympathy. What a bunch of arseholes. Hope the surveillance stuff works; that must be beyond frustrating.

  13. Kitchen Witch, your comments keep getting caught in the spam filter. I keep reclaiming them and instructing it that your IP address and email aren’t spam, but to no avail.

  14. If you want a hand with servicing the landy i will help as much as i can as i have loads of good tools and a big covered area just south of aberdeen for doing car work.

    Also paddock are damn cheap for landy spares

  15. That’s just terrible Stoney – must keep a closer eye on our tank too…. we’ve been going through oil pretty quickly too and as I type, our oilminder is flashing 0!

    We do have a problem with our heating system at the moment – if it goes off it stops working and won’t refire. The pressure drops and it all soots up.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Heating fuel thefts start to get noticed « Musings from a Stonehead - 16 July, 2008

    [...] to get noticed 15 07 2008 Back in February, I mentioned that we’d been the victims of heating oil theft with 500 litres siphoned [...]

  2. Fuel thefts start to get noticed « Musings from a Stonehead - 16 July, 2008

    [...] to get noticed 15 07 2008 Back in February, I mentioned that we’d been the victims of heating oil theft with 500 litres siphoned [...]

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