POLICE are urging business owners to be vigilant following a recent rise in cooking oil thefts across Gloucestershire.

They have said that offenders will often use large vans to store drums in the rear of the vehicle, and may pose as legitimate collectors to steal the oil from businesses.

The police believe offenders steal cooking oil to transform it into “unregulated biodiesel”, which they can sell later.

Officers have provided advice to business owners to help prevent this crime, including. They said:

  • Make sure you and your staff members know who your grease collector is, what vehicles they use and what uniforms they wear.
  • Know what days of the week your grease collector attends.
  • Ask for ID if you believe people claiming to be contractors are suspicious.
  • Keep used oil safely locked up in a storage area while you await collection.
  • Mark, tag or write on your oil containers. This can help police to identify them if they are stolen and later recovered.
  • Consider fitting an alarm to any external storage facility.
  • Check your oil levels frequently to ensure they aren’t fluctuating drastically between service visits.
  • Contact your supplier about the possibility of lockable tubs and drums to prevent siphoning.
  • Consider appropriate security lighting and CCTV. Even fitting dummy CCTV cameras and displaying CCTV signage may be enough to act as a deterrent.

They added: “Officers are urging businesses owners to report any suspicious activity to police. You can contact us using this online form: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ or call or 999 if a crime is in progress.

Alternatively you can report information anonymously through the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting their website”: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously