Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 20:40 UK

Police warn of heating oil thefts

There have been 59 heating oil thefts in the Dyfed-Powys area this year

Police in rural areas are warning of a big increase in heating oil thefts from domestic storage tanks.

Officers say with the rise in energy costs thieves are targeting homes "on an almost industrial scale".

Last year, 17 such thefts were reported in the Dyfed-Powys area but the force has already had 59 incidents this year.

Dilys Jones, 82, from Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, was one of those affected and had nearly 400 worth of fuel stolen from her tank.

Police said they were used to tackling diesel thefts from farms and rural businesses but the rise in heating oil theft from domestic residences on such a scale was new.

Mrs Jones said: "It has cost me 329 which I've got to pay extra.

Dilys Jones
I have cried over it because I was left thinking how am I going to live
Dilys Jones

"I'm 82-years-old, I'm diabetic, disabled, it's very upsetting.

"I know of two others in the area.

"I just have not got the money to pay for it.

"I have cried over it because I was left thinking how am I going to live?"

Brian Walters of the Farmers' Union of Wales said: "We've had reports to us that there have been losses [of diesel and domestic heating oil] in the last few weeks.

"It's a worrying trend because the price of diesel and oil has gone up so much in the last few months."

Pembrokeshire crime prevention officer Max Bevan said: "Officers are carrying increased stop checks of vans moving about at night and we have found people who are stealing on an almost industrial scale.

"But we would urge the public if you see anything suspicious ring it in there and then."

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