Farming News - NFU Mutual statement - Fuel situation & potential rise in diesel thefts

NFU Mutual statement - Fuel situation & potential rise in diesel thefts

29 Sep 2021
Frontdesk / Finance

Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Diesel is essential to keep agriculture running and to keep the nation fed. We have found that price rises and fuel shortages in the past have seen thieves target farms.

“We are urging farmers to be vigilant and to strengthen security, in case a prolonged shortage sees fuel thieves return to the countryside.

“In 2020, even during a year of lockdowns, thieves continued to steal fuel in large quantities and our claims data has found the average cost of diesel theft in the countryside was £2,120. In 2019 the average was £2,327. 

“Fuel theft not only grinds farm work to a halt but criminals often cause damage getting into tanks and spilling fuel. Often the consequence of attack is escape of fuel with the potential for serious pollution problems, which are difficult and extremely costly to clean up and which may present increased fire risks.”

NFU Mutual is investing over £430,000 in carefully targeted initiatives to tackle rural crime this year. This work includes sponsoring two trials of connected farms using LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) technology and sensors to detect threats and provide alerts and notifications when there is activity outside and fuel tank levels change.

NFU Mutual security tips

To protect fuel, NFU Mutual is issuing the following advice:

Tank, contents and location

  • Record the number, location, tank storage capacity and the date/times when tanks are filled and regularly check levels.
  • Where possible locate the tank where it can be viewed from the farmhouse. Fuel tanks located away from buildings or dwellings are more vulnerable if they can’t be seen by occupants.
  • Ideally tanks should be within an enclosed compound with secured access.
  • Fit a fuel tank alarm to notify you of an attack on fuel tanks. Remote electronic fuel level gauges will set off an audible or monitored alarm if the fuel level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a defined level.

Site security

  • Keep field and farmyard gates closed and locked, and block exit points that aren’t used.
  • Activate intruder alarm systems, which may have a local sounder or remotely monitored signalling.
  • Install security lighting to illuminate any suspicious activity.

Vehicles and machinery

  • Use locking caps.
  • Keep tractors and powered machinery locked up and out of sight from public roads and footpaths when not in use to prevent thieves draining their fuel tanks.
  • Check your fuel gauge is not showing irregularities in fuel levels.