HOMEOWNERS are being urged to be on the alert following the theft of a quantity of home heating oil in Sion Mills.
Sion Mills Community Forum issued the appeal on its social media page after a home in the Ballyfatten area of the village had an amount stolen.
Local community worker Andy Patton said householders need to take precautions to deter would-be thieves.
"The scum of the earth are skulking about in the darkness again folks," Mr Patton said. "Oil thieves are taking peoples home heating oil.
"A householder in the Ballyfatten area has lost the oil he got on Saturday.
"We are appealing to everyone to look out for your neighbour. If people do that the thieves will be caught."
Urging all residents to be vigilant, the community activist added: "Police have been notified and our Neighbourhood watch patrols will continue as usual but we need the public to play their part in helping to catch these criminals.
"Please play your part and watch who is about etc.
"Also we appeal to people to up their home security at this time as heating oil is so expensive."
Police have also appealed to homeowners to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.
A spokesperson said: “Police are aware of the impact that burglaries can have on individual householders.
"By following some sensible crime prevention measures home owners can help reduce their risks of becoming a victim.
"Exterior lights are useful in discouraging the attention of criminals, particularly those involved in burglary and the theft of heating oil as it raises the potential of them being seen in the vicinity of your home by either yourself or a neighbour.
"If you need free crime prevention advice, please call the 101 number and ask to speak to your local Crime Prevention Officer."