FIVE members of a British family have been arrested for stealing 156,700 litres of diesel oil from a Malaga pipeline.
The highly-organised team are alleged to have used their plumbing knowledge to puncture the pipe and set up hidden hoses leading to their rented finca in nearby Campanillas.
In early October oil company CLH noticed a drop in pressure in the pipe supplying Malaga airport and filed a complaint with the Guardia Civil, who immediately launched operation ‘Rudolf 2011’ to catch the thieves.
Police located the leak and discovered a hut hiding the extracting devices.
They traced the pipes to the Campanillas house where they arrested a man who was controlling the device.
They also discovered a 500-litre capacity van connected to the supply with a hose.
Later they arrested four more members of the family of thieves, who it is thought planned to sell the fuel on illegally.
The Guardia Civil have said this is the first case of its kind in Andalucia.
Rudolf 2011 will now investigate whether the group is part of a larger criminal organisation.
Worryingly, much of the oil had leaked onto the ground through holes in the clandestine system, which was made using a high-pressure tap and household plumbing equipment.