CALLOUS thieves are targeting the oil tanks of schools and places of worship in the latest spate of thefts.

Police have issued appeals for information following the incidents which took place over the past week, and a reminder of how you can take steps to prevent such burglaries happening to you.

In the first incident, which happened some time between Monday afternoon, 25 March, and 7.30pm on Thursday, 28 March, oil was stolen from the Chapel and Parochial Hall in Gilford. The oil was taken from both tanks on Hunters Hill Road and Castleview areas.

Separately 620 litres of oil was taken from the tank in the grounds of Scarva Primary School some time between 1pm on Tuesday, 26 March, and 1pm on Thursday, 28 March. Pipes to the tank were also damaged during the theft.

Police have conducted house to house enquiries in the local area and are asking anyone who noticed any activity around the school, including people or vehicles, to contact them in Banbridge on 0845 600 8000. They would also like to speak to anyone who may have information about the incident in Gilford.

Constable McGlue of Banbridge Response, said, “We are asking all residents to contact us if they notice any type of suspicious activity in their local area. On many occasions, vehicles will be used to transport oil and if you notice a vehicle which looks out of place or not quite right, please contact us immediately. We would rather investigate something which may appear to be insignificant than miss the opportunity to catch a criminal in the act.”

Most thieves are opportunists and will take the easy option so make sure you lock your gates, lock your tanks and considering installing security lighting and CCTV.

Further crime prevention advice is available from your local Crime Prevention officer by calling 0845 600 8000.