Exxon Mobil shut one of Britain’s Midline Pipeline fuel pipelines after reports that thieves had tapped into the line and taken thousands of gallons of fuel.

Police  arrested two men in connection with the theft of more than 7,900 gallons of diesel from the pipeline worth about $70,000.

Exxon, known as Esso in Britain, said it was assisting Hampshire Police.

A tapping device was found on the pipeline Tuesday, Esso said.

Two men, aged 32 and 34, both from Salisbury, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal fuel on Sunday and released on bail, the BBC reported.

Esso said the pipeline was “secure.”

A statement from Esso said there was “no leak of product” from the pipeline.

The 14-inch underground Midline Pipeline runs from Esso’s Fawley oil refinery near Southampton to Seisdon in Staffordshire.

“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 Monday.

Esso doesn’t expect retail customers to be affected by the pipeline closure. The company said it is making alternative supply arrangements.


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