Heating oil thefts - two arrested

Wealden Police have arrested two men following a spate of heating oil thefts from domestic tanks.

The local Neighbourhood Policing team arranged a month of high visibility action across the whole of the district. Operation Zero was an operation aimed at disrupting the criminals involved in this particular criminality.

In the first week, a van was stopped and two men aged 28 and 29 from Kent were arrested for theft of heating oil and bailed until June 13 pending further investigations. Their vehicle was seized.

Since the arrests there have been no more reported thefts of heating oil on Wealden.

Wealden District Commander Chief Inspector Dick Coates said, ““The location of oil tanks can be a critical factor. Ideally they should be situated within sight of your home, but not visible from the road. 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, please contact your local officer by calling 101 or visit www.sussex.police.uk.”

A police spokesman said, “These thefts were not only costly for residents, but had a massive impact on their lives when unable to afford or arrange more oil.

“One resident had all of their heating oil stolen a week before Christmas, and was unable to afford the cost of refilling.

On this occasion, 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.”