Vandals cause ‘substantial environmental damage’ on farm in Harborough area

Foam pads were placed in the polluted brooke in Kibworth to absorb the red diesel. The clean-up operation by the Environment Agency is expected to last several weeks. (Picture by BBC)
Foam pads were placed in the polluted brooke in Kibworth to absorb the red diesel. The clean-up operation by the Environment Agency is expected to last several weeks. (Picture by BBC)

Thousands of litres of diesel have spilt into the countryside at Kibworth Harcourt after vandals damaged a storage tank on a farm.

The tank, which contained about 4,500 litres of red diesel, was attacked by vandals sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning at Paddocks Farm in the village.

Farmer Charles Stops in front of the damaged fuel tank which was attacked by vandals and caused red diesel to spill into a nearby brook.' (Picture by BBC)

Farmer Charles Stops in front of the damaged fuel tank which was attacked by vandals and caused red diesel to spill into a nearby brook.' (Picture by BBC)

It has led to thousands of litres of the fuel spilling onto nearby farmland and a brook.

A kingfisher was killed as a result of the pollution.

Leicestershire Police are investigating the incident and staff from the Environment Agency have been working at the scene to clear up the pollution.

Farmer Charles Stops told the BBC over the weekend that the lost diesel was worth about £2,500 and a replacement tank will cost another £2,500.

The kingfisher that died in the polluted brook in Kibworth after vandals attacked a fuel tank at Paddocks Farm in the village. (Picture by Environment Agency/BBC)

The kingfisher that died in the polluted brook in Kibworth after vandals attacked a fuel tank at Paddocks Farm in the village. (Picture by Environment Agency/BBC)

He added: “I couldn’t quite believe that somebody would do such a dreadful thing. My immediate reaction, then, was to call Leicestershire Police and they came out to the scene; and then the Environment Agency came down and they’re still here now and I think they’ll be here for quite a long while trying to clear it all up.”

Paul Reeves, from the Environment Agency, told the BBC: “It’s been pretty bad. There’s very deep sections of red diesel and we found a kingfisher yesterday [Saturday] which unfortunately died overnight, so there’s been substantial environmental damage and they’ll be residual diesel contamination for several months.”

Red diesel is dyed gas oil for registered agricultural or construction vehicles which carries a significantly reduced tax levy compared to regular diesel fuel used in ordinary road vehicles.