People are being asked to remain extra vigilant following a rise in the amount of oil currently being siphoned out of garden storage tanks.

As the oil price continues to rise, many people have begun stockpiling extra supplies, however latest crime figures confirm that criminals are siphoning off the fuel to sell on to others.

“A 1,000 litre tank can be drained within minutes and a tank that’s not properly protected will make an easy target for thieves looking to make some extra cash,” said a Countryside Alliance spokesperson.

"Fuel thieves usually target farms during the winter nights as the extended cover of darkness gives them more opportunities to steal.

“These criminals often use a basic tube to siphon away the fuel, but more sophisticated measures, such as pumping systems, are now being reported by police.

"The safest place to position an oil tank is in close proximity to your property, but if it’s a distance away, rural homeowners and farmers are being urged to lock down their tanks with a secure cap or hardened hose and invest in good lighting. 

"Other security measures include investing in a CCTV camera, installing a fence or locked gates around the tank, introducing burglar alarms or an electronic level gauge which will enable you to keep an eye on the amount of fuel in the tank at all times.

"If the system detects a sudden drop in contents, it will send out an alert such as a text message.

"It's also advisable to conduct a daily audit of tank levels and consumption which can help with forecasting and identifying how much fuel is generally required month to month.

"This can also help identify sudden drops or possible incidents of tampering enabling fuel thefts to be discovered almost immediately after they occur.

"There is no fool-proof way to prevent yourself becoming the victim of fuel theft but these measures should help make you a harder target.

"Finally, remember to report any robberies or suspicious behaviour to the police."