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Exxon shuts UK pipeline; police arrest 2 in fuel theft probe

Published on Apr 22, 2014 1:01 AM

LONDON (REUTERS) - Exxon Mobil said it shut one of Britain's main underground fuel pipelines following a report that thieves had tapped into the line and taken thousands of litres of fuel.

Hampshire's Daily Echo newspaper reported on its website that police had arrested two men in connection with the theft of more than 30,000 litres of diesel from the pipeline. That would be worth about 41,000 pounds (S$86,200) at pump prices.

Exxon, known as Esso in Britain, said it was assisting Hampshire Police with their enquiries after the discovery of a store of fuel in the Romsey area and that indications suggested the fuel might have come from a nearby Esso pipeline.

Known as the Midline Pipeline, it runs north from Esso's Fawley oil refinery near Southampton to its terminal in Birmingham, located at Erdington in the city's northeast. "Esso 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,"the company said in a statement on Monday.

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