POLICE have seized equipment at a suspected illegal diesel distilling facility.
Officers uncovered the suspected operation at a property in Dene Street, Hetton, where they also found drums containing 1,300 litres of diesel.
The equipment is believed to have been used to convert red diesel to white diesel. It follows a number of thefts of red diesel, in particular from Eppleton Quarry, in the area.
A 50-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on police bail.
Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove, who covers the area, said: “This type of activity poses a huge risk and the consequences of not storing diesel in a controlled environment with appropriate measures in place could prove to be devastating.
“Those involved are not only endangering their own lives but those around them and their property.
“We’re working with the Environment Agency and HMRC to make sure those suspected of being responsible face appropriate action and that any risk to members of the public is removed.
“If anyone has any information about incidents of this nature we’d urge them to contact us.”
The incident happened yesterday. Police released information about the incident this afternoon.
The distilling equipment has now been removed and the property made safe.
To report information to police, contact 101 ext 69191.