National Rural Crime Update


National Rural Crime Update

Highlighting  three rural crime issues that are currently prevalent across the country.

Fly-Tipping – This continues to be an issue both in our rural and urban communities. Our colleagues from SEPA would like to highlight illegal waste collectors advertising on-line and how by using such services makes us in-directly complicit in the problem, please click on the following link to read more;

Livestock Attacks – You received an alert earlier this week highlighting the awareness campaign in relation to attacks on Livestock by dogs. This is a big issue in our rural communities and especially at this time of year when lambing is well under way. With the spring on us, it is important for our wellbeing to get out and enjoy the countryside, see the below postcard which gives good advice to dog walkers on how to enjoy doing so responsibly.

Fuel Theft – Reports of fuel theft and in particular heating oil is a current crime trend in our rural communities, both from domestic dwellings and commercial premises. The below is some crime prevention advice for those of you that have storage tanks.

Location of the tank:
If possible locate the tank out of sight of the main road but in view of the house. Hiding the tank behind the garage, shed or some other type of outbuilding is commonplace, but it can give the thief the advantage. Ensure the tank is not located where  the oil distribution  company may not be able to refill it for you. Please do leave enough room for maintenance and fuel deliveries if you are planning to use defensive plants.

You could also create a gravel path up to and around your tank. Adding gravel is a cost effective and easy solution to put intruders off as it creates a noise, alerting you of any trespasser.

Defensive plants such as blackthorn, hawthorn and native roses can also be a deterrent for thieves. They will want to avoid them during a theft, not only to protect themselves but also because they do not want to risk leaving any fibres or evidence behind.

Securing your oil tank:
Secure your oil tank with a wooden or metal fence, trellis or wall can give significant protection to the tank. A metal grill or cage with a lockable access point across the top of this wall or fence can further improve security. The wall or fence should be as close to the tank and as high as possible. You will need to ensure that the cage fully encloses your tank, while leaving enough room for maintenance and heating oil deliveries. The cage should also be either bolted or concreted to the ground.

Control switches:
Control switches that control the flow of oil should be turned off and the electricity supply isolated when the tank is not in use.

Invest in a good quality lock for your cage, close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to thieves. Due to their design, close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop (shackle) exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip.

Oil level gauges:
Remote electronic oil level gauges are now available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen, or perhaps a utility room to warn of any potential problem. Remember to check oil levels regularly, this will help you to monitor usage and check none has gone missing, this could also result in earlier reports of theft.

Security lights:
Consider installing security lights, low energy ‘dusk ‘til dawn’ lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both effective and inexpensive. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.

Closed circuit television:
You could also consider the installation and use of CCTV, however before you spend lots of money on equipment make an assessment of your needs.

Securing Diesel in vehicles:
Ensure your vehicle is locked when unattended, consider installing anti-siphon devices. OFTEC or the “Oil Firing Technical Association for the petroleum industry” offers advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises. There are certain rules and regulations that may apply to you and OFTEC will help clarify these for you. They can be reached at: or by calling 0845 6585 080.

Comprehensive crime prevention advice can be obtained from your local policing team by telephoning 101. You can also access extensive crime prevention advice at Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative works with Police Forces around the UK and many other organisations to achieve sustainable reductions in crime to help people live in a safer society.

Remember: If you can think of a way of defeating your existing security measures, so can the criminal. 

Any suspicious activity should be reported to Police Scotland by calling 101 or on our web page
Alternatively information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For emergencies call 999.


If you would like to read more about SPARC and the Rural Crime Strategy for Scotland, please visit,

Message Sent By
Jamie NRCU
(Police Scotland, Constable, M Div - National Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit)

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