An attempt by thieves to tap into an underground Esso fuel pipeline at Marlborough resulted in 'an extremely dangerous' incident, a fire official told town councillors last night.

Carl Barber, the crew manager based in Marlborough, said the leak of 150,000 litres of petrol from the pipeline on the Manton Estate, owned by the family of the late multi-millionaire Robert Sangster, happened last month and involved the fire service staying in attendance for 32 hours while the problem was sorted.

Mr Barber spoke about the incident during a report to the town council.

He said: “There was some illegal syphoning of petrol; a pressurised pipe line was tapped.

“It’s extremely dangerous, that is an extremely pressurised line at times and it can be a danger.

"It’s not, to my knowledge, the only case but it is the only case I’m aware of in our boundaries. Nationally it has been done before.

“It was brought to our attention by the police as some was seen to be leaking and it did take 32 hours and seven appliances because our attendance was required while they isolated and dealt with the issue.”