THIEVES tried to steal 1,000 litres of oil from a village hall.
The oil tank at the building in Billingborough was drained by thieves on Tuesday night.
However, during the attempt an alarm fitted to the tank was triggered.
It is believed a neighbour came out to investigate and disturbed the thieves who fled, leaving behind a white van containing the oil and a hose.
Police have impounded the vehicle, a white LDV van, registration number R309 NRR along with the oil.
Treasurer of the village hall committee chairman Samantha Turner estimates that the raiders attempted to take 1,000 litres and is hoping to get the oil back.
Luckily the hall’s mother and toddler group session on a Wednesday morning had been cancelled due to the Christmas holidays.
The hall was also fortunate that oil suppliers Chandlers could deliver 500 litres of oil on Wednesday morning.
This is not the first time that the hall has been attacked by oil raiders.
Thieves drained the tank during the summer of 2009.
Mrs Turner said: “I think it is really sad that they decided to steal from a public hall.
“The lid for the oil tank has also been damaged. We are replacing it and waiting for a new one.”
Police are now appealing for information on the attempted theft, which happened at about 7.30pm.
The tank had been fitted with a police alarm, which they are doing with a number of tanks in the area.
Sector Insp Gary Stewart says the oil would have been stolen to sell on.
He said: “Let’s not forget that people are buying this. People wouldn’t steal it if there wasn’t a market for it.
“This is not an acceptable crime.”
Oil thefts are not just affecting village halls but also homes.
Insp Stewart is urging homeowners to take precautions by locking their tanks.
He said: “I know it is difficult but one way to reduce your losses is if you don’t fill your tank to the top.
“I know that’s not easy.”
Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact police on 0800 555 111.