Wednesday 22 September 2021

Vectec combats fuel theft concerns

Fuelling systems provider Vectec has reported that an increasing number of its customers who store diesel fuel at unmanned sites are being targeted by thieves drilling into the tanks to steal the fuel.

Amongst the victims are fire and ambulance stations, says the company, both from above and underground tanks.

“One site had 20,000 litres taken in a night, and they were lucky,” said Vectec managing director Simon Fowler.

“The thieves made a professional job of drilling into the top of an above ground tank with a hole saw.  I say the site was lucky because if they had penetrated the tank from the side, the remaining 10,000 litres of diesel would have drained across the yard and into the drains.

“Following these incidents we searched the market for a suitable alarm system but found nothing. Products were available consisting of float switches and klaxons or devices that sent out text messages. However these were forever causing false alerts when vehicles took fuel outside normal hours when the alarm was set or because wind/vibration disturbed the floats.”

In addition to the cost of the fuel stolen, Vectec highlights the clean-up costs likely to be incurred if thieves take what they can carry and leave the rest of the fuel to flood out. These costs would be way in excess of the cost of the lost fuel, the firm says.

To help combat the problem, Vectec has developed the Metron4 fuel theft detection system, which looks for the rate of change of fuel level over a set period.

“For example it can allow 200 litres of fuel to be drawn in a five-minute window, but if 201 litres or more is taken it will trigger the alarm,” explained Simon.

“The configuration will be set to match usage levels on the site.

“The system incorporates a site based beacon and klaxon to scare off the thief and a GPRS modem that generates email alerts to nominated staff members so they can attend site and minimise the risk of major spillage.”

The system has an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which allows it to work in the event that the mains power is cut off. Cutting the level measuring probe cable will set the alarm off.

It is simple to install on existing above and below ground tanks, says Vectec, only requiring a 1” BSP socket for the probe.

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