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Three men in court after more than £1m fuel stolen

Three men have gone on trial in connection with a scam that saw fuel worth more than £1 million stolen from underground pipelines in the South East.

Maidstone Crown Court was told that there were several attacks on the pipelines, which carry fuel from refineries to customers and that fuel was then syphoned off and sold illegally.

Derek Johnson has our report.

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Are we reaping rewards of falling fuel prices?

Crude oil prices have dropped to under $30 a barrel, but are the tumbling prices being reflected on our filling station forecourts?

In Maidstone most garages are selling petrol at more than £1 a litre. Diesel is just below that figure.

Campaigners for fairer fuel prices say unscrupulous retailers aren't making cuts, but filling station owners say they're struggling to survive because of falling margins.

Chris Halpin reports.

Birds die in oil spill

RSPCA inspectors have collected several birds caught in an oil spillage on the north Kent coast. The birds were found covered in thick, black sticky fuel oil. They include eight red throated divers, two of which had to be put to sleep to end their suffering, two guillemots and a dunlin which died.

All came from the Ramsgate harbour area except for one of the divers which was picked up in Rye harbour. They are being cared for by the RSPCA Mallydams Wildlife centre in Hastings.

RSPCA wildlife supervisor Richard Thompson said: “Birds like these, that are used to spending all their lives on the water, are difficult for us to manage but we have the expertise and will do our best for them.

The oil we are dealing with is very caustic and the two we have had to put to sleep had ingested a lot of it.

– Richard Thompson, RSPCA

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Still busy at the pumps!

There'll be no fuel strike over Easter, but it's still busy at the pumps. Correspondent Andrew Pate reports from a service station in Totton, in Hampshire. Meanwhile, there's no diesel left at Fleet Services on the M3.

In Bicester, in Oxfordshire, there's only one station with all fuels available. Forecourts have been closed in parts of Dorset due to queueing motorists. And in Kent, the price of petrol and diesel has risen significantly.

RAC welcomes no strike news

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Many people will have been filling up to be ready for the long journeys they are planning over the Easter break.

"This news will be a great relief to all those who thought their holidays were going to be severely disrupted.

"It should give everyone breathing space and ease the pressure at the pumps. If, after the fiasco of the past few days, ministers still want to get involved in the dispute, there is plenty of time for them to help both sides reach a negotiated solution."