A LORRY driver has denied connecting a hosepipe to a fuel pipe in a bid to steal £250,000 of fuel.

Lithuanian Jonas Vainauskas, 55, denies digging up part of a field off Bird Lane, Brentwood.

He also says he didn’t extract 600 litres of fuel from the line that runs beneath it.

The high pressure fuel line, carries thousands of litres of raw fuel from Canvey to a refinery in Hertfordshire.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard the British Pipeline Agency, which owns the fuel pipe, first discovered it had been hacked in to on July 15.

It reported it to Essex Police, who went to the site.

There they found a hosepipe and a large drum.

The security manager from the British Pipeline Agency lay in wait at the site.

He was there for hours until about 11pm when two vans arrived.

He kept watch before dialling 999. The police soon arrived and arrested Vainauskas. Three other people are still being hunted in connection with the incident.

Meanwhile, Vainauskas, of Headingley Road, Birmingham pleaded not guilty to the theft and was denied bail.

The case was transferred to Basildon Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing set to take place in October.

Anyone with information about this crime should call police on 101 – or alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.