Lights out after diesel theft from generator

editorial image

The lights went out across two villages on Monday morning after thieves stole diesel from a generator that was providing power to East Claydon and Botolph Claydon.

This is the latest in a spate of fuel thefts in the area and police say they have increased patrols in the area as a result.

Western Power Distribution has placed four generators in East Claydon and Botolph Claydon providing temporary power to the villages while planned work is carried out to the overhead electricity cables.

But at about 7am on Monday the power went off after the 3,000-litre-capacity generator in East Claydon was emptied of its red diesel.

Power was returned about three hours later after an engineer arrived to refill the generator.

Western Power has now organised 24-hour security to prevent a recurrence.

The work is due to be completed next week.

Three homes in Sandhill have also suffered thefts from their domestic fuel tanks in the past month.

John Riches had 1,000 litres of oil syphoned from his tank on the night of October 15 and a fortnight earlier two of his neighbours were targeted.

Mr Riches told the Advertiser: “They came across my next door neighbour’s garden to my house and helped themselves to 1,000 litres of my oil.

“The worst thing was, I hadn’t paid for it yet.”

Mr Riches found the thieves had tampered with a security light on his driveway.

He said: “What they had done was swivel the light in its mounting towards the heavens so that if a low-flying helicopter had gone over the light would have gone on –and meanwhile you could walk around on the drive without anything happening.

“It’s a good job that the weather is as mild as it is at the moment, as I have to save up for a refill,

“Being pensioners we can ill afford to pay out anything from £580 to £620 plus VAT –and all they have to do is come again.”

Neighbourhood police inspector James Davies said: “The theft of heating oil is a priority for Thames Valley Police.

“I am aware that the residents of Sandhill have suffered three thefts of heating oil over the last four weeks, an area that is historically low in crime. As a result I have stepped up patrols in this area during key times.

“I would encourage victims of these type of crimes to come forward, as without a full picture of crime in a particular area we cannot focus our patrols effectively.”