Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Mastermind of pipeline breaches found guilty

John Wood ·
police officer rear view

An Essex man who orchestrated the theft of hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel from an underground pipeline in Kent has been found guilty following a trial.

Roger Gull was part of a criminal operation which involved drilling into high pressured pipelines to steal fuel worth millions of pounds.

An investigation led by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate revealed Gull, aged 51, used a false name to rent a barn on land off Ovenden Road, Chevening in July 2013.

He identified himself to the landowner as ‘Dave Saunders’ and claimed he was with a company undertaking engineering works on the M25 and needed to use the site as a storage area.

Gull, of Upminster Road, North Rainham, Essex, erected a metal fence and moved shipping containers onto the site. Labourers with specialist skills and knowledge were then paid to drill into the nearby fuel pipelines.

A hydraulic hose fed stolen fuel back to a compound and into huge containers stored in lorry trailer.

On 6 August, 2014, operators of the pipeline detected a breach and an inspection led to the discovery of the hose, buried to a depth of 2ft and running from the pipeline to the compound.

Enquiries led to the arrest of Gull on November 2014. Officers uncovered an elaborate network of criminality with further pipeline thefts detected in Essex, Hampshire and Northampton.

The case went to trial at Maidstone Crown Court and on 25 July 2017 Gull was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to steal hydrocarbon oils (between 1 July, 2013, and 6 August, 2014) and two offences of money laundering. He is due to be sentenced on 6 September.

Detective constable Dean Sycamore of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “Roger Gull compromised underground pipelines in a number of regions across the UK. These crimes required highly specialised and dangerous techniques to siphon the fuel, from pipelines which operate at very high pressure.

“Millions of litres of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel were stolen. The site, which we uncovered on land off Ovenden Road, was effectively being used as an impromptu refinery. A search by officers of this location led to the discovery of a trailer, shipping containers and a caravan. Inside the trailer alone, were twenty containers, all of which were able to store 1,000 litres of fuel, which would then be sold on.”

Two other men arrested during the investigation were found not guilty of charges relating to conspiracy to steal and money laundering.

Want more stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up for our FREE email newsletter

Keywords:

My Account

You are not logged in.
  • Weekly
    Retail
  • Weekly
    wholesale
  • Daily
    Average
Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 September 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.75128.55119.84
East Midlands120.29128.81119.63
London120.7558.57130.05119.82
North East120.2059.90129.98119.40
North West120.52128.62119.81
Northern Ireland119.2369.90126.85119.03
Scotland120.60128.18119.75
South East121.03130.63120.24
South West120.75129.31119.96
Wales120.35127.44119.57
West Midlands120.4262.90130.69119.84
Yorkshire & Humber120.1971.90128.67119.59

Most read

Are you relieved that as a consequence of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, rogue hand car washing operations are now being targeted by the authorities as one of the prime sources of human trafficking and are being shut down?