Brazen crooks siphon 250,000 pounds of diesel from a Royal Navy warship in one of Britain’s biggest fuel heists

In one of Britain’s biggest fuel thefts, more than £250,000 worth of DIESEL has been stolen from a Royal Navy warship.

The crooks drove off in tankers to power HMS Bulwark.

Thieves stole £250,000 worth of diesel from a Royal Navy warship


Thieves stole £250,000 worth of diesel from a Royal Navy warshipCredit: CROWN COPYRIGHT
They set off with tankers to power HMS Bulwark


They set off with tankers to power HMS BulwarkCredit: PA:Press Association

The raid ran for weeks at HMNB Devonport in Plymouth – when pump prices hit record levels.

A source said: “The Navy is furious about this.”

The brazen thieves embarrassed defense chiefs by pulling the massive diesel theft at the high-security naval base under their noses.

They siphoned off more than £250,000 during the daring operation – what marine The chief’s anxiety lasted for weeks.

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The alarm was only raised after civilian guards spot checked a tanker driver trying to leave HMNB Devonport Plymouth, Devon.

A source told The Sun: “They must have needed one hell of a canister. The fuel extracted was intended to propel the ship during the overhaul.

“Considering the size of Bulwark and the enormous generator, it’s a bit like generating electricity in a small town.

“A guard became suspicious of the tanker’s movements and the vehicle was stopped.

“Of course the Navy is angry about this – even though none of their employees were involved.”

An urgent investigation into the major vulnerability has been launched

Naval experts have branded the revelations a major embarrassment the MOD and subcontractor Babcock International – at a time of heightened international tensions and war in Ukraine.

The stunning theft took place as pump prices soared to record levels.

By the time things finally got going, most of the diesel had been smuggled onto the black market.

The stolen fuel – that works diesel cars – was to replenish generators that power the 19,560-ton assault ship carrying 325 sailors and up to 405 soldiers.

The source continued: “The Bulwark is an amphibious warship and an integral part of British defences.

“The fact that she was left so vulnerable and exposed is simply a sham and Babcock has questions to answer.”

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, told The Sun: “The theft of fuel from a Warship of the Royal Navy is not only criminal, it drains scarce resources from our military at a time of national crisis.

“As the armed forces face increasing cuts, having such a large quantity of fuel stolen is not only embarrassing, it also raises serious security questions at one of our most secure naval bases.”

Rear Admiral Dr. Chris Parry, a former commander of the Amphibious Task Group, said: “Right now I’d rather let the fuel go into the Black Sea than onto the black market.

“It’s incredibly negligent. We expect our civilian contractors to take much better care of us.


“It’s good that security was able to pick you up.”

Former Frigate Commander Tom Sharpe said: “That’s extraordinary, I’ve never heard anything like it.

“Out at sea there’s a whole smuggling community focused on stealing fuel from merchant ships, but in port from a Royal Navy warship it’s a very different matter.

“Ships in dock are vulnerable to all kinds of safety threats, as well as fires and floods, because they have fewer crews and contractors have less ownership.”

HMNB Devonport This is also where the British nuclear submarines are fueled in their top-secret reactors.

The massive base spans more than 650 acres and features 15 dry docks, four miles of waterfront, 25 tide moorings and five pools.

HMS Bulwark is one of the Royal Navy’s two amphibious assault ships.

Together with sister ship HMS Albion, Bulwark can land Royal Marines and their deadly equipment anywhere in the world.

It is undergoing an overhaul at the site, which has been a Royal Navy base since 1691.

Last night a Ministry of Defense spokesman said: “The Ministry of Defense is aware of an incident involving the alleged theft of fuel from a contractor within HMNB Devonport.

“There was no disruption to defensive operations and the MOD has no further comment.”

Babcock International declined to comment. In October, thieves were caught trying to steal over £45,000 worth of fuel from a family-run truck shop in Farlington, Hants.

Last month, crooks also stole thousands of liters of fuel from a haulage depot in north-east England.

The 15,000 liters of diesel, worth around £24,000, was taken from a storage tank at Murray Hogg in Newcastle.

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In 2017, an operator accidentally fired a torpedo at a nuclear shipyard that flew over a jetty and crashed into a fence.

Amazingly, no one was hurt when the 9-foot rocket, which was unarmed, was launched HMS Argyl while the ship was at anchor in Devonport.

A source said:


A source said: “The Navy is furious about this”. Pictured HMS BulwarkCredit: Royal Navy Brazen crooks siphon 250,000 pounds of diesel from a Royal Navy warship in one of Britain’s biggest fuel heists

Bobby Allyn

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