AN INTELLIGENT alarm system, designed to catch thieves in the act of stealing heating oil, is being re-launched in West Suffolk.
The aptly named Oil Defender is a wireless system capable of communicating using the latest technology and even has an iPhone app for the IT savvy, which can be used to arm or disarm it remotely.
It sends an alert by text or email if a tank’s inspection hatch is opened or if there is an unexpected drop in fuel and it can be linked to existing burglar alarms.
It is the brainchild of telecommunication engineers Richard Grimes, from Rougham, and Steve King, from Thurston, who formed Fuel Alarms Ltd in February last year, and Alan Barnard, an alarm engineer from Gloucestershire.
Mr Grimes, 58, said: “The increases in prices, combined with the economic downturn, have encouraged the development of a thriving black market in stolen fuel.
“Our product gives a sporting chance of catching the thief and also gives the victim time to re-stock, with only minimal down time.
“It can deliver a terrific noise from a klaxon, integrate with existing burglar alarm systems, dial up to five different phone numbers and send emails to inform of the events.”
The Oil Defender, which can transmit up to a range of 1km, has previously been aimed at commercial diesel and oil tanks but is now being re-launched for the domestic market.
It can also alert owners when a new fuel order is needed.
Mr King said: “Our product offers people peace of mind with local support and we offer free fittings within 10 miles of Bury.”
In 2010, Suffolk police recorded heating oil thefts valued at around £35,000, while last year there were 31 more thefts – a total of 137 – valued at £65,000.
Police advise people to check they are insured for the cost of any environmental clean up, as well as for fuel thefts and oil seepages, and recommend positioning well lit tanks within good view of a house, away from roads and paths.
For details on Oil Defender, visit www.fuelalarms.com