Pipeline Closed Down After 'Major Fuel Theft'
An underground pipeline has been shut down because thieves are suspected of tapping into it and stealing a "large quantity" of diesel.
The line, which transports fuel from Esso's Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire to its terminal in Birmingham, was closed for checks.
The shutdown came after diesel was discovered in an industrial storage unit in West Wellow, also in Hampshire, on Thursday evening.
The exact amount of fuel found has not been confirmed, but police said it was a "large quantity" that was believed to have been illegally obtained.
Two men aged 32 and 34 from the Salisbury area have been detained by Hampshire police on suspicion of conspiracy to steal fuel.
An Esso statement said: "Early indications suggest that the fuel may have come from a nearby Esso pipeline."
It is not known when the pipeline will re-open but a company spokesman said Esso did not expect its retail customers to be affected.
The fuel was found in a storage unit by the owner.
Police said: "The exact quantity and circumstances surrounding the accumulation of fuel are central to the investigation, and detectives are focusing on identifying those responsible.
"The fuel is stored safely and securely and is being retrieved by engineers from the nearby Esso refinery."
The Birmingham terminal is one of several Esso terminals supplied from Fawley.
The others include Purfleet, Avonmouth and the West London Terminal, none of which is fed by the affected pipeline.