Report reveals £11,000 fuel theft at district council waste depot

JPCT 250313 Hop Oast Amenity tip, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 250313 Hop Oast Amenity tip, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

Horsham District Council is reviewing its security at the Hop Oast Depot after thieves disabled the alarm and CCTV system and stole about 10,400 litres of fuel.

The Audit Report for the council discussed by the Accounts, Audit and Governance Committee yesterday (Wednesday), states that overnight on December 19/20 thieves ‘gained unauthorised access to the Hop Oast Depot by cutting through the padlock and chain at the front gates and disabling the alarm system’. They siphoned off fuel costing around £11,336.

The damage to the alarm system also meant the CCTV cameras failed to activate and as a result a number of recommendations have been made to improve ‘physical security and detective controls’ there.

It is suspected a tanker was used to remove the fuel from the depot, but this cannot be proved without CCTV footage.

A spokesman for HDC said: “Following the theft in December, the district council formalised its arrangements for vehicles to access fuel from nearby filling stations. With this arrangement in place, the council has not been carrying stocks of fuel at the Hop Oast Depot in Horsham and this arrangement will remain in place until such time as the review of security has been completed. Fuel costs are expected to be about £20,000 over budget in 2012/13.

“This represents an increase of just under 2.5 per cent on the original budget for the year. £11,000 of this cost results from the theft of fuel from the Hop Oast depot.”