Sussex Police is warning farmers to secure their property after nearly 3,000 litres of diesel was stolen from farms in Mid Sussex over the weekend.
Thieves crossed three fields to reach a farm on Slaugham Road, Staplefield, to steal 2,500 litres of white diesel from a storage tank between 7pm on Saturday (August 23) and 7.30am on Sunday (August 24).
Hoses were run across fields to a point from which it is thought the offenders then filled containers and carried them to a vehicle parked in a side road.
Gates were left open, allowing cattle to stray between fields but not onto the road.
In a separate incident, thieves cut into fuel tanks on a tractor and a combine harvester parked at a farm in London Road, Albourne, between 7pm on Friday (August 22) and Saturday (August 23) and stole more than 400 litres of red diesel.
Police are not currently linking these incidents, but have not ruled out the possibility of a connection.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Farmers and landowners are urged to be aware that fuel thieves may be operating in the Mid-Sussex area and to ensure that appropriate security measures are taken.”
Anyone who saw any suspicious activity or vehicles near either location, or who has other information which may help with enquiries, is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 101, quoting either serial 496 of 23/8 (Albourne) or 337 of 24/7 (Staplefield).
Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111