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Thousands of litres of council fuel disappears

PUBLISHED: 15:09 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 07 September 2010

GALLONS of Camden Council fuel have evaporated into thin air - with authorities clueless as to what happened. Diesel oil, believed to amount to thousands of litres, has disappeared from the Whittington Estate in Highgate where it was being stored. Council

GALLONS of Camden Council fuel have evaporated into thin air - with authorities clueless as to what happened.

Diesel oil, believed to amount to thousands of litres, has disappeared from the Whittington Estate in Highgate where it was being stored.

Council officers are carrying out their own probe after police investigations ended without result. The problem for council investigators is that they have no idea how much is missing and how it disappeared.

A spokeswoman said: "We are determined to get to the bottom of what has happened here.

"We will share any new information that we have with the police and will be pushing for the maximum penalties should they decide to prosecute.

"We don't know the quantity of oil taken. The police are holding a small amount and we are talking to them about the return of that. Our investigations will be looking into this issue."

The oil had been used to power the estate's old heating system before it was upgraded. When it became redundant, the oil was kept in storage tanks. But the council do not know how much was left behind. The waters are muddied further by the fact that police arrested a man in September over an allegation of theft of fuel oil on the estate but he was released without charge.

A Met spokesman said: "A 50-year-old man was arrested by police in connection with the theft on September 8. He was bailed pending further enquiries.

"After investigations by police and customs and excise officers, it was established there were no criminal offences for police to pursue.

"The man returned to police and he was advised that no further action would be taken."

A council spokeswoman added: "The police informed us late last week that they were not planning to take any further action at this stage and we are talking to the police about the return of the oil."

The Whittington Estate has undergone major repair works over recent years, including the repaving of all walkways and residents' balconies.

The council is currently locked in a legal battle with contractors Makers over compensation after the building firm was sacked last year for slow progress and botched works.

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