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Police arrest man for tapping Friendship pipeline

A man who tapped crude oil under his weekend house at Szigethalom near Budapest from the Friendship 1 international pipeline has been taken into custody, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

After receiving reports by oil and gas company Mol of unstable pressure in the major pipeline that carries oil to Hungary from Russia via Slovakia, police were last week led to a Budapest resident who had diverted oil into a 1,000-liter tank under his weekend house south of Budapest, Szigetszentmiklós police captain Péter Papp said. Police found a professionally dug underground tunnel system with lights and high-capacity equipment siphoning oil from the pipe some 80-100 meters away. The man, suspected of belonging to an organized ring, is believed to have tapped several thousand liters of oil, Papp said. A search for the other suspected ring members is underway, he said.