Cooking oil thieves strike at pubs

Thieves have escaped with quantities of used cooking oil, which can be used to fuel cars, in burglaries at two pubs.

The oil thieves broke into the Lion and Lamb and the White Horse, both in Milton near Cambridge, and stole the used ingredient. There has been an increase in cases of cooking oil thefts in recent months from restaurants and takeaways as well as pubs because it can be converted to biodiesel to power cars and vans.

If you have a business that uses cooking oil, it’s important to be aware of the increase in this kind of theft. You should have a decent business insurance policy and also a specialist policy tailored to whether you need pub insurance, restaurant insurance or retail insurance.

Used cooking oil cannot be disposed of domestically by businesses and it has to be collected by approved waste carriers. Many outlets store the used oil in large containers for collection and it's these that burglars are homing in on.

It’s believed that thieves are either converting the oil for use as biodiesel themselves and selling it via the unregulated market, or are selling it to unsuspecting oil collection businesses.

Sally Champion, who runs the Lion and Lamb pub in High Street, Milton, said this was not the first time the premises had been broken into. She also raised concerns about a recent armed robbery at the nearby Golden Hind pub, plus new plans to start switching off streetlights in the county at 2am to save money.

She told the Cambridge News: "It was 20 litres of oil which is quite heavy and they were pretty brave because both pubs are right on the High Street but they did it under the cloak of darkness which can only get worse when they start switching the streetlights off at 2am.”