Opportunistic criminals may well be stealing home heating oil in order to make money on the black market, a local Sinn Fein Councillor has said.
Eric McGinley said the increase in the number of oil thefts over the last ten days, has fuelled a belief that thieves are targetting recently filled tanks.
Sinn Fein had received ten reports of emptied oil tanks in just ten days - with some locals reporting that lorries appeared to be following oil trucks.
“Whether these are individuals, or organised gangs, we just don’t know but the increase in the number of thefts would indicate that more is happening than people simply stealing oil to heat their own homes.”
Colr. McGinley said: “The theft of home heating oil is not a victimless crime. People can ill afford to pay for oil to have it stolen. In areas such as Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank this is particularly true. Getting the oil stolen at any time is bad enough but we all know the weather conditions this winter have been extreme which makes this crime even worse.
“People have been burning more oil to heat their homes and heeding the advice of the experts to prevent pipes bursting in their homes.”