Esso has reassured customers it does not expect any disruption to deliveries even though it has had to shut down the Midline pipeline that transports fuel from the Fawley Refinery in Hampshire to Birmingham Fuel Terminal.

It was closed after a tapping device was found on the pipeline following the discovery of 30,000 litres of diesel in an industrial storage unit at West Wellow, Romsey, in Hampshire, which is believed to have been stolen from the pipeline.

Hampshire police said two men, both from the Salisbury area, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal fuel, and have been bailed until July 10, pending further enquiries.

In a statement Esso said: “The Esso Midline pipeline is secure and there has been no leak of product. The pipeline was closed as a precaution following the discovery of the fuel store. Esso is committed to the very highest standards of safety and our specialists are now working to remove the tapping device, and repair and test the pipeline and restore it to normal operations as soon as possible.

“Interim alternative supply arrangements are in place and we do not anticipate any impact on our retail customers. We continue to help Hampshire Police with their enquiries.”