Daring crooks steal £250k of diesel from Navy ship in one of UK's biggest fuel heists

7 April 2022, 08:12 | Updated: 7 April 2022, 15:28

The diesel was reported to have been stolen from HMS Bulwark.
The diesel was reported to have been stolen from HMS Bulwark. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Thieves have stolen more than £250,000 worth of diesel from a Royal Navy warship in one of the country's biggest ever fuel heists.

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The massive theft occurred in the high security HMNB Devonport in Plymouth, with the navy said to have been left "furious" about it.

The crooks responsible took off with tankers intended to power HMS Bulwark in a heist that ran for weeks, The Sun reported.

The alarm was only raised when civilian guards carried out a spot check on one tanker driver trying to leave the base.

It comes amid spiralling petrol prices for motorists, which have continued to surge since Russia launched its attack in Ukraine.

The fuel - which also works in diesel cars - was set to power the assault ship while it had a refit.

Read more: UK petrol and diesel prices surge as Russia launches attack on Ukraine

Read more: Drivers face petrol shortages as eco zealots block oil refineries for four days

A source told The Sun: "They must have needed one hell of a jerrycan. The fuel that was taken was supposed to power the ship as it undergoes a refit.

"It's a bit like generating electricity for a small town given Bulwark's size and the generator is enormous.

"A sentry got suspicious about the movements of the fuel tanker and the vehicle was stopped.

"Naturally, the Navy is furious about it — even though none of their personnel were involved."

Meanwhile, Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport told the paper: "The theft of fuel from a Royal Navy warship is not only criminal, it takes scarce resources away from our military in a time of national crisis.

"With the armed forces facing more and more cuts, having such a huge amount of fuel stolen is not only embarrassing, but it also raises serious questions about security at one of our most secure naval bases."

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "The MoD is aware of an incident involving the alleged theft of fuel from a contractor within HMNB Devonport.

"There was no disruption to Defence operations and the MoD has no further comment."