Rural homeowners in the area with oil-fired central heating are being warned of oil thefts during January and February.
A survey carried out by Rural Crimes showed that fuel was the third most attractive commodity for thieves targeting rural properties.
This, coupled with more severe cold weather and increasing oil prices likely in the coming months, makes heating oil prone to theft.
Police are urging people to be vigilant and have asked residents to consider a number of steps to ward off thieves. They are; fit a lockable cap or padlock to your tank; install a motion detecting security light; buy a fuel gauge alarm; display a warning message to say that your tank is alarmed; install a CCTV camera near your tank; and look out for suspicious vehicles, especially on the day of your oil delivery.
Malcolm Farrow, from the oil firing technical association Oftec, said: “If more people are aware and vigilant of oil thefts in rural communities, hopefully there will be fewer victims of this crime.”