Two arrested over ‘oil theft from pipeline’

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Two men have been arrested in connection with the theft of tens of thousands of litres of fuel which is believed to have been stolen from one of the country’s main underground oil pipes.

The large quantity of diesel, which is thought to have come from the Fawley refinery near Southampton was discovered in a warehouse in West Wellow, on the border of Hampshire and Wiltshire on Thursday.

Two men, aged 32 and 34, were arrested in Salisbury, and are being questioned by detectives from Hampshire police.

It is understood that detectives are investigating whether the fuel was extracted from a pipeline running from the Esso refinery at Fawley.

The underground pipeline carries fuel through Wiltshire to the Midlands.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm two men, aged 32 and 34 from the Salisbury area, remain in police custody for questioning.

‘Lines of inquiry include establishing the exact amount of fuel stolen and examining the suspected sophisticated method used in this alleged theft.

‘The fuel is stored safely and securely and is being retrieved by engineers from the nearby Esso refinery.’