police car© Tim Scrivener/Rex

Police in Leicestershire are hunting vandals who smashed a farm fuel tank causing it to flood a nearby stream with 4,500 litres of red diesel.

Police were called after the tank on a farm near Kibworth Harcourt was found damaged on Saturday morning (25 July).

See also: Dissecting red diesel rules

A hole was made in the diesel tank which contained 5,000 litres of fuel, about 4,500 litres spilled out into drains and a brook.

A spokeswoman said: “Officers are investigating the damage and we would ask anyone who knows anything about the incident or who may be responsible to contact us.”

Farmer Charles Stops told the BBC that the tank replacement and loss of fuel would cost him at least £5,000.

Mr Stops told the broadcaster he “couldn’t quite believe that someone could do such a dreadful thing”.

The Environment Agency added that an emergency clean-up operation was under way but the spill had already caused “substantial environmental damage”.

A residual diesel contamination is expected to remain in the ground and water supply for several months, an agency official said.

The clean-up and disposal of the fuel is expected to cost tens of thousands of pounds, the official said.

If you can help with the police investigation please contact 101.