POLICE in Northumberland are urging people to take steps to protect their fuel tanks.
The warning comes as officers from across the county have started to see an increase in the number of reports of thefts from tanks in recent weeks.
Superintendent Allan Brown, of Northumberland Area Command, said: “There is a national increase in the price of fuel and as a consequence diesel and heating oil could become a target for thieves all over the country, including here in Northumberland.
“We’re determined not to let criminals use the roads to travel around the county stealing oil and committing offences and officers are out there targeting criminals on our roads.
“Businesses, farms and building sites in rural areas could become targets for thieves and our neighbourhood policing teams, who have excellent links with local communities, are working with those in rural areas to ensure they have all the support they need from the police.
“The rural communities are our eyes and ears in Northumberland and we need their help to stop crime.”
Police are asking those with external oil and fuel tanks to make sure their tanks are secure and that they monitor how many litres of fuel they get delivered, when and how much they are using, so they can report any thefts immediately.
Other advice includes fitting a locking device around the container lid and tap, fitting the tank with an alarm and making sure vehicles are secure and parked up in such a way to make it more difficult to steal fuel from them.
If a crime is taking place people should ring 999 – to pass on information like a suspicious vehicle or behaviour, call 03456 043043.