QuestGates warns of potential surge in diesel and heating oil theft

18 March 2022: Specialist loss adjuster QuestGates has today issued a warning to the insurance industry that it could experience a surge in diesel and heating oil theft as a result of the spiralling cost of oil.

“As upsetting and frustrating fuel theft is for the victims, sadly this type of crime can often have a significant impact to the wider environment and property,” says Richard Lawrence, Technical and Complex Loss Director – Environmental at QuestGates. “Thieves don’t just drive up to a property with a tanker to fill up. They generally cause damage to oil storage infrastructure to extract the fuel, paying little or no regard to the destruction left in their wake.”

Lawrence cites examples of valves being left open or smashed, holes drilled into tanks and sight gauge tubes being detached from tanks and left lying over.

The inevitable result is residual oil spilling to ground and impacting sensitive environmental receptors including groundwater, rivers and streams which can potentially lead to the victim of the crime becoming the subject of investigation themselves by the likes of the Environment Agency.

He concludes: “We recommend that when insurers consider any claims for oil theft over the coming weeks and months, they also investigate the pollution risks so that they and their customer’s positions are protected both in terms of property damage and potential liabilities.”