Suspected theft of approx 30,000 litres of diesel:

Two men have been arrested in Salisbury following the discovery of a quantity of diesel in a warehouse at West Wellow, Hampshire.  The men, aged 32 and 34, are both from Salisbury and were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to steal fuel.  They were released on bail on Monday.The discovery was made by the unit’s owner last Thursday and the diesel is believed to have been obtained illegally.More than 30,000 litres of diesel may have been stolen from the Midline 35cm diameter pipeline, which was built in the mid 1980’s at a cost of £40 million, and runs 130 miles from Esso’s refinery in Fawley, Hampshire to the West Midlands.The pipeline which is one of Britain’s main underground fuel pipelines, has been shut down whilst police investigate the matter.A Hampshire police spokesman said ‘Lines of inquiry include establishing the exact amount of fuel stolen and examining the suspected sophisticated method used in this alleged theft.The exact quantity and circumstances surrounding the accumulation of fuel are central to the investigation, and detectives are focusing on identifying those responsible.’A spokesman from Esso said that the company is ‘committed to the very highest standards of safety. The pipeline has therefore been closed down and our specialists are working to check it and, if necessary, effect any repair. We will not resume operations of the pipeline until this work is complete.’