A British family living in Málaga have appeared in court accused of stealing fuel from the pipe which supplies the province’s airport.  They are said to have siphoned over 156,000 litres of gasoil, an action which left Málaga airport in danger of running dry.

The parents, now divorced, and their son and daughter came under suspicion of October 2011 when airport staff noticed that the pressure in their supply had dropped.  Helicopter surveillance was used to look for problems in the pipeline and the father was finally stopped when driving his van which was found to be carrying 1,000 litres of diesel. 

The family were found to have drilled down from the surface to perforate the pipeline and steal the fuel.  Neighbours told investigators that they appeared to visit the site around lunchtime every day.

Experts say that the theft had been a very dangerous operation.  As well as using homemade drilling equipment, there had been a risk of damaging the gasoline and kerosene supplies which are carried by the same pipeline.

The accused have admitted the theft of fuel valued at €4 million, but have claimed they were ordered to do so by someone else.