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Dyfed-Powys Police secures Wales first conviction for hot tapping

The practice involves the syphoning off of fuel from pipelines without fully disrupting the flow

Officers in Dyfed-Powys Police have secured the first conviction for ‘hot tapping’ in Wales after 2,000 litres of diesel were stolen in Pembrokeshire.

Iulian Neacsu, 21, Nicolae Petre, 36 and Constantin Dumitrescu, 31, changed their pleas to guilty on the second day of their trial at Swansea Crown Court on Monday March 27.

Hot tapping is the practice of syphoning fuel from pipelines without entirely disrupting the flow.

Dyfed-Powys Police closely examined the remote area in which the hot tapping occurred uncovering a receipt that belonged to one of the offenders.

The force worked closely with North Wales and West Mercia Police to investigate the incident as well as working with the National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service.

Detective sergeant Dale Scriven described the discovery of the receipt as a “golden nugget” in the investigation.

He said: “This is a significant outcome for Dyfed-Powys Police and for Wales. Not only were we able to secure convictions for going equipped, but for damage and theft from the pipeline.

“We had to work fast time in this investigation to catch the offenders before they were able to disappear from our radar.

“A golden nugget was the finding of the receipt at the scene of the crime, along with other items of forensic interest.

“Some excellent Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) work was carried out, which allowed us to track the offenders’ vehicle as they attempted to get away from the scene.

"By tracking the car’s movements and working with our neighbouring police forces, we were then able to stop the care on the A483 in Llanymynech and make the arrests.

“I hope this delivers a clear strong message to anyone else involved in this type of criminality not to come to Dyfed-Powys. We are not an easy option and we will follow all lines of enquiry to catch offenders.”

After changing their pleas to guilty Neacsu was given a 21 month sentence for damage to and theft from the pipeline, Petre and Dumitrescu both received nine month sentences for going equipped.