A family is on trial for the theft of 156,000 litres of diesel from Malaga airport pipeline. The Prosecution says the defendants rented a plot adjacent to the airport and drilled the underground infrastructure to extract the fuel.
Technicians at the airport suspected illegal activity from the first moment. The control centre detected a pressure drop in the pipeline and managers at the Logistics company filed a complaint with the Guardia Civil, believing that someone was stealing the fuel. They were not wrong, as the complaint led to a thorough investigation that ended with the family’s arrest.
The alleged thieves are now accused of criminal charges that could see them face five years in prison, as the Prosecutor’s Office accuses them of stealing 156,700 litres of diesel. The investigation began at the end of 2011 and was carried out by the Seprona, the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil.
To locate the cause of pressure drops, a helicopter searched up and down the pipeline. The process was complicated as the infrastructure runs through plots and farms, but finally the Seprona detected a suspicious pipe and after close surveillance the defendants were arrested.
The airport’s Hydrocarbon Logistics Company has estimated the damage caused by the family at €4 million euros. In the indictment, the company has explained that the drilling led to fuel spillage that caused the contamination of surrounding aquifers. At the time, the Ministry of Environment was forced to temporarily prohibit water extraction from 32 legal wells in a one-kilometre radius of the spillage.
The Logistics Company also highlighted that the accused didn’t use bronze materials to do the fuel extraction, creating unsafe conditions and a big risk of explosion.