Police in the Western Isles are urging local residents to keep heating fuels secure to prevent thefts this winter.

Officers have received recent reports of bags of coal being stolen from outside properties in the Stornoway area.

Enquiries into these incidents are ongoing - and officers are now urging people to make sure they keep their fuels secure to deter thieves.

Area Inspector Jane Nicolson said: "Fuel thefts, whether it is, heating oil or anything else, are crimes which cause unnecessary expense and inconvenience for victims.

"As with any other type of theft, criminals will always pick on an easy target if it is available - taking some time to make sure your fuels are as secure as possible will often be enough to deter potential thieves.

"With heating oil is a good idea to make sure your filler cap is lockable and has a security valve fitted to prevent fuel being drained from the supply pipe.

"Solid fuels such as coal should be kept out of sight and secured somewhere with a lock.

"Fuel thieves will always try and find a target where they think they will not be disturbed so security lights which detect movement are an effective deterrent.

"Most thieves are opportunists so our message is quite simple - do not give them an opportunity.

"Be vigilant to any suspicious behaviour around your property and report concerns to Police Scotland on 101 as soon as you can."