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Updated: Oil Thieves Spill Polluting Diesel Into Town Centre River Wey

Published on: 22 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

Oil thieves who broke into the Arriva bus depot in Leas Road early today (April 22) spilt a huge diesel slick into the River Wey, threatening wildlife. Police are now appealing for witnesses.

Environment Agency mopping up the oil spill at the weir at Stoke Mill after the oil theft from the Arriva bus depot in Leas Road (pictures from the Environment Agency on Twitter).

A riverside resident told The Dragon he could smell fuel in his back garden this morning and saw a “massive oil slick”. Apparently, the thieves had put a hose across the river to syphon off the oil.

Surrey Police report that officers were called to a bus depot on Leas Road in Guildford shortly before 5am following the reported theft of a large amount of diesel.

Scene of the crime – the Arriva bus depot, Leas Road, Guildford

The theft is believed to have occurred between midnight and 4am and it is estimated that in excess of 14,000 litres has been stolen.

A police spokesperson said: “It is believed that during the theft, an unknown amount of fuel leaked into the River Wey. The environmental impact is being evaluated and Surrey Police are working with the relevant agencies including Surrey County Council, The Environment Agency and The National Trust.”

The Environment Agency said on Twitter: “We are working to contain the spill by using oil booms. We have no reports of wildlife being affected.”

The National Trust said: “We are saddened by this criminal activity. The navigation is closed between Millmead Lock and Bowers Lock. We are grateful for the support of the Environment Agency, Surrey Police and Guildford Borough Council.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to river users, while essential safety work takes place.”

A resident nearby said: “They need to catch and make an example of those responsible. The water birds are just about to hatch too. Grim.”

Photo from a Dragon reader of the oil on the water a mile from the Arriva bus depot. “This is the view this morning, environmental damage on Earth Day”.

The incident remains under police investigation. Those with any information are requested by Surrey police to contact them quoting PR/ 45210041104  via:

If you do not wish to leave your name, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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test 3 Responses to Updated: Oil Thieves Spill Polluting Diesel Into Town Centre River Wey

  1. Alan Cooper Reply

    April 23, 2021 at 10:22 am

    All I can say is that is about 200 metres from the Police Station. Some nerve!

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    April 24, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    Why did Arriva Buses not have the Diesel pump padlocked? Not to have had it locked, if that was the case, seems lazy and asking for trouble.

    It is well known that bus and coach companies regularly get visitors at night, and any bus or coach parked outside in a yard gets diesel drained from the vehicles, even where there is CCTV and security lighting because thieves cover their faces.

    This has happened at two coach companies where I have worked and because we had CCTV, we knew the exact time it happened.

    On one occasion the police went to the 24-hour petrol station opposite our yard and saw the registration number of the lorry on their CCTV. The driver was caught and went to court.

  3. John Lomas Reply

    April 25, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    I would think, looking at Google Maps, that the thieves used one of two commercial sites on the opposite bank and a boat to gain access, so those premises external CCTV probably have them on camera.

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