Two police officers and 13 other suspects were arrested at the weekend after they were caught stealing diesel from a Transnet pipeline between Camperdown and Pietermaritzburg.
According to the police, an operation was conducted in Ashburton by police officers from Mountain Rise Rapid Response, the Pietermaritzburg K9 unit and Cluster Crime Intelligence, with security officers from Magma Security.
Police said that the suspects were arrested in Ashburton while trying to pump diesel from the pipeline into trucks. It is believed that the pipeline belongs to Transnet.
“Two trucks transporting fuel, three other vehicles, numerous pipes, hydraulic jacks, 17 cellphones, spanners and an undisclosed amount of cash were confiscated during the operation. Suspects, including two police officers, were detained at the Camperdown police station,” police said.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula said: “It is such a disgrace that while other police officers are dedicated to fighting crime in the country, some find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Such actions are an embarrassment to the police service.”
Magma Security and Investigations director Shaheen Suleiman said the suspects were using a pump system to extract diesel from the pipeline into their own tankers.
“We caught them in the act, while they were still busy trying to pump the diesel. They came with their own tankers to load the diesel. Apparently they have been doing this for a very long time,” said Suleiman.
The 15 suspects are expected to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court.
Arrests have been made across the country in recent weeks for theft from Transnet fuel pipelines.
Two weeks ago, the Hawks and other authorities arrested two men for allegedly stealing diesel from a Transnet pipeline in Delmas, Mpumalanga.
It was reported that the authorities managed to seize a 20000-litre diesel tanker, two small generators – one inside the truck, the other mounted to a hose that was busy extracting the diesel from the pipeline – and other instruments.
Recently three suspects were arrested by the Hawks for tampering with and damaging a Transnet fuel pipeline in Heidelberg, Gauteng.