A gang stole more than £1m of fuel from the network of underground pipes linking refineries and terminals across the UK, a court has been told.

The gang are said to have siphoned off petrol, diesel and aviation fuel from the pipelines in Kent, Essex, Hampshire, Northamptonshire and Cheshire.

Roger Gull, 51, of Rainham, Essex, and Thomas Campbell, 58, of Kilmarnock, Scotland, deny conspiracy to steal hydrocarbon oil.

Gull and his son Ryan, 28, also of Rainham, Essex, also pleaded not guilty to money-laundering offences.

Prosecutor Dale Sullivan said: “Throughout the UK there is a network of underground pipelines and they transport varying petroleum products between refineries and customers.

“The prosecution say Roger Gull and Thomas Campbell were involved with a group of criminals who compromised those pipelines and stole fuel.

“It was then sold on and, on some occasions, sold on having been altered.

“The incursions, in other words the attack on a pipeline, were targeted all over the UK and netted the group millions of litres of fuel.

“You can be sure, the prosecution say, that the value of that fuel stolen was well in excess of £1m.”

Police raided Oveney Green Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent, in August 2014. They discovered an “impromptu refinery” containing 21 1,000 litre plastic containers fed by a hose from the underground pipeline.

There were also several shipping containers, which were allegedly used as workshops to identify and test the stolen fuel.

Prosecutors say thefts happened across the pipeline network between June 2013 and November 2014.

The high-pressure pipes, which pump 350,000 litres of fuel per hour, were “compromised” using hydraulic hoses equipped with pressure gauges and taps.

Gull was allegedly responsible for setting up a number of the sites, while Campbell is said to have transported the fuel.

The trial at Maidstone Crown Court is expected to last up to five weeks.