3 December 2012
Police in West Norfolk have launched Operation Tank today.
Op Tank is targeting those who commit rural crimes, with the
focus of those criminals who steal heating oil, diesel and scrap
Over the past year there have been over 100 heating oil thefts
in West Norfolk alone and these always increase over the winter
months. With the weather getting colder more people are using their
oil tanks and are aware of how much is in their tanks.
Supt Dave Marshall: “The average tank holds around £600-700 of
oil and the cost of replacing that can really hurt a family,
particularly at this time of year. But we understand that it’s not
just the cost, it’s the time without heating, the hassle of
arranging replacement oil and the obvious concerns around the
safety of their property.”
Diesel thefts are also a concern, in the past fortnight there
have been a number of diesel thefts from commercial premises,
totalling over 35,000 litres. Vehicles and farm machinery are also
being targeted. The vast majority of victims are commercial
properties, but single domestic vehicles are also targeted by
Scrap metal theft often goes hand in hand with oil and diesel
thefts and this operation coincides with the new scrap metal
legislation in force today.
Most of these crimes happen in rural areas so officers will be
particularly focussing their operation in south west Norfolk, the
Wisbech borders and along the A17 corridor.
Op Tank will involve extra resources, including Special
Constables, and extra patrols across the affected areas. PCSOs will
be visiting previous victims and offering further home security
advice, including specially designed crime prevention packs.
Officers will also be conducting roadside checks and proactive
stops of vehicles, working with partner agencies. We will also be
working with colleagues elsewhere in Norfolk and across the border
in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk where appropriate.
As part of these roadside checks, officers will dip fuel tanks
in some vehicles – identifying the potential use of red diesel. If
red diesel is discovered, the vehicle can be seized and a £400 fine
Supt Marshall continued: “We know that it is a big issue for
rural communities and we will aim to make them feel safe and help
them secure their property.
By targeting those that steal and those that buy stolen property
we will hopefully drive down the market and people will start to
see a big difference.
A lot of this is about vigilance, we need to know if you spot
suspicious vehicles in and around your area, noting registration
numbers and details of vehicles is always a great help to us. We
would always rather you called us than become a victim of
Regular updates will be issued via police direct and via the
Twitter account, using #OpTank.
Anyone who spots anything suspicious can call us on
101 or 999 if a crime is in