A PIPELINE that carries fuel from Hampshire to Gatwick Airport has been targeted by thieves.

Police have launched an investigation after fuel was siphoned from the 120-mile pipeline which carries fuel from Fawley Refinery to Purfleet Fuel Terminal and Gatwick.

The theft was committed near the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s official country residence in Kent, Chevening House.

Police said initial indications were that it had been “a well- organised crime”.

It is thought about 30,000 litres of fuel a day was stolen over seven months, with a value of £8.3 million at the pumps.

The theft was discovered on Wednesday after new security measures were introduced on Esso's South East Pipeline.

It comes after thieves are believed to have siphoned thousands of litres of diesel at East Wellow near Romsey in April from another pipeline running from Fawley Refinery to Birmingham International Airport.