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”.
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”.