Published: 17:00, 09 August 2014
| Updated: 20:23, 09 August 2014
Police are investigating the massive theft of thousands of litres of fuel from a pipeline running under the official Kent home of the Deputy Prime Minister.
In what is being reported as a highly organised crime, a sophisticated gang siphoned a reported total of £8.3 million worth of fuel from Esso's south east pipeline which goes under Chevening House, near Sevenoaks. The historic 3,000 estate is shared by Nick Clegg and the Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond.
The Sun has reported that around 30,000 litres a day was funnelled off from the pipe into large containers and taken away on lorries.
The line takes fuel from Fawley Refinery in Hampshire to Purfleet Fuel Terminal and Gatwick. Esso temporarily shut down the pipe to make repairs and have condemned the crime as "highly dangerous" but said no customers have been affected by the crime.
A Kent Police spokesman said: "Kent Police was notified of some tampering to a fuel pipeline in the Sevenoaks area on August 6."
The spokesman added: "Initial indications are that this was a well organised crime, employing highly specialist techniques to siphon fuel from pipelines which operate at very high pressure."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police direct or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
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