Kent Police has launched an investigation after thieves siphoned fuel from a pipeline running under Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's official country residence.
Police said initial indications were that it had been "a well organised crime". A gang drilled their way into the pipeline, which passes through Chevening House estate, shared by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.
The fuel was funnelled along a 1,600 foot pipe to an area just outside the 3,500 acre estate near Sevenoaks, Kent, and pumped into huge plastic containers aboard lorries.
About 30,000 litres of fuel a day was stolen over seven months, with a value of £8.3 million at pumps.
The theft was discovered on Wednesday after new security measures were introduced on Esso's South East Pipeline. The line, 120 miles long, carries fuel from Fawley Refinery in Hampshire to Purfleet Fuel Terminal and Gatwick.
A Kent Police spokesman said: 'Kent Police was notified of some tampering to a fuel pipeline in the Sevenoaks area on August 6. Initial indications are that this was a well organised crime, employing highly specialist techniques to siphon fuel from pipelines which operate at very high pressure.'
An Esso spokesman said: 'We recently strengthened our pipeline security and monitoring procedures, and on Wednesday detected criminal damage at Chevening on the South East Pipeline, which transports fuel from the Fawley Refinery, Hampshire to Purfleet Fuel Terminal and Gatwick Airport.<
'The section of pipeline was temporarily shut down to make repairs, which have now been completed. There has been no impact on supplies to customers.
'We strongly condemn the highly dangerous criminal action by those involved and are working closely with the police in their criminal investigations.'
A man who wasted hundreds of hours of police time after he falsely accused someone of raping him has been jailed for 16 months.
Robert Fisher told Kent Police he had been raped by another man in an Otford car park in 2012. But an investigation by detectives found he had made up the allegations, in order to seek revenge for a friend.
As a result of the allegations Fisher made, a man in his 30's was arrested as he returned from a holiday with his family.
During police interviews, Fisher admitted the allegations had been entirely fabricated and that he had never even met the man he had accused of raping him. He said his victim had previously made a complaint to police about one of his friends. Because of this, he wanted him to experience being arrested and the impact this would have on his life.
Kent Police Detective Constable Jeremy Taylor said:
Vandals have daubed gold paint on a postbox, after Lizzy Yarnold from West Kingsdown near Sevenoaks won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. More than forty thousand people had signed a petition to the Royal Mail in support of painting a postbox gold, but they rejected the plan.
Lizzy Yarnold's mum has backed calls to paint a postbox gold in Sevenoaks, Lizzy's hometown, to mark her daughters achievement and to help inspire Britain's future winners.
Around 43,000 people have signed a petition for the Royal Mail to paint the postbox for Yarnold, who won Britain's first gold medal at the Winter Olympics in women's skeleton.
Royal Mail painted postboxes in the hometowns of gold medalists during London 2012 Olympics, which they say was a "unique occasion" as the host nation.
Lizzy's mum, Judith, who is a teacher said:
Officers are also keen to speak to any witnesses who may have seen the male with the silver vehicle in the Locks Yard area by the bus station earlier that morning prior to the raid.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC Share on 01303 289353.
Alternatively, contact Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, quoting incident reference 07-0466.
Police are keen to trace a key potential witness as they investigate an armed robbery in Sevenoaks.
Shortly after 10:45am on 7th February, a man entered the Halifax bank in the high street and threatened them with a black handgun before making off with a sum of money.
Staff were left shaken and traumatised. The suspect is believed to have left the scene in a silver cabriolet car with a black roof, which was seen being driven erratically through Sevenoaks towards London Road.
Traffic is still queueing on the A21 Sevenoaks By-Pass northbound due to an earlier accident between A225 (Hildenborough/Sevenoaks turn off) and A25/M25 Spur (Sevenoaks), congestion to the A26 for Tonbridge.
The accident involved three vehicles which orginally closed the carriageway. Police have now left the scene. Foggy conditions have been reported in the area.
The Environment Agency is warning that an area from Westerham to Sevenoaks is at risk of flooding following heavy rain last night.
River levels in the River Darent are rising rapidly and property flooding is expected this morning.
Properties in Westerham, Brasted and Sundridge are considered most at risk.
The Environment Agency says it expects river levels to keep rising until early afternoon.
A petrol station manager is fighting for his life after trying to stop a car leaving his forecourt in Kent. He was carried on the bonnet for half a mile at speed, before being thrown to the ground.
He saw the car trying to leave his filling station in West Kingsdown near Sevenoaks without paying. His family told our reporter Jamie Stephens that he could so easily have been killed.