Finding that someone has nicked a load of your diesel (and, even worse, left the hose gushing all over the ground) is one of the most upsetting and expensive things anyone can encounter.
But technology has come to the farmer’s aid in the form of fuel level indicators that automatically alert you via your mobile phone each time fuel is drawn. There are several systems on the market, but the most recent one is from Suffolk firm iLevel
iLevel says its system allows farmers to keep a check on the contents of any bulk storage tank from the office computer or via an app on a smartphone. It can also keep an eye on levels of liquid fertiliser, oils and LPG and tell you if fuel is being withdrawn at night.
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“The first benefit is that iLevel shows exactly how much has been delivered, so you don’t have to rely on the supplier’s ticket,” says the firm’s Andrew Rabett. “You can then set up the parameters for the alerts that inform you if and when the contents change. This not only will alert owners to unauthorised removal, but also if there is a leak, which will help protect precious stocks and quickly prevent a pollution incident,” says Mr Rabett.
Thieves often break off locks or puncture tanks to steal the contents, he adds. “With iLevel you are able to inform the police as the crime is being committed, without having to confront the perpetrators and then act quickly to contain any leaks caused by the damage. Moreover, it also provides evidence to the Environment Agency that you have procedures in place to check for, and quickly contain, any spills,” he adds.
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iLevel units are installed simply and easily on tanks, says the company, often using existing fittings, so there’s no need to drill any extra holes. Power for the control box is supplied by either a long-life battery, solar power or mains.
An annual subscription costs £200 a tank after professional installation and set-up of all the necessary equipment.