TWO Romanian truck drivers have been jailed after they were caught siphoning fuel from lorries at Taunton Deane Services.

Ilie Dobrescu and Ion Stoian were spotted stealing the fuel by two other truck drivers parked up at the services off the M5 near Taunton.

The victims confronted Dobrescu, 36, and Stoian, 31, who were using pipes connected to their own 44-tonne HGV.

The two thieves then fled the scene, but they were located by Avon and Somerset's road policing unit driving at speed.

Officers safely stopped the lorry before arresting both men.

A multi-agency investigation involving Avon and Somerset police officers, staff and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency found thousands of pounds in cash and hundreds of litres of secreted fuel on the lorry.

Further investigations also uncovered the use of a tachograph electronic data record and magnet which alters tachograph records. The lorry was also found to have serious defects and was prohibited from being driven.

Dobrescu and Stoian were both charged with two counts of theft from a motor vehicle; producing a false record with intent to pass it as genuine to an inspector; and possession/control of an article for the use in fraud.

Both men pleaded guilty at Taunton Magistrates Court on 10th July and were remanded in custody until they were sentenced at Taunton Crown Court last Friday (August 2).

They have each been sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison for the offences in the early hours of Tuesday, July 9.

The pair will be deported upon release and are disqualified from driving for 21 months.