Clean-up operation under way after ‘deliberate’ fuel spill in Northamptonshire canal

Thousands of litres of fuel leaked into the Grand Union Canal after a pipeline was cut at Gayton Marina
Thousands of litres of fuel leaked into the Grand Union Canal after a pipeline was cut at Gayton Marina

A massive fuel spill at a Northamptonshire marina has now been contained by the Environment Agency and the clean-up operation has started.

Ten people were evacuated and assessed by paramedics after thousands of litres of fuel leaked into Grand Union Canal at Gayton Marina on Saturday.

Northamptonshire Police have launched an investigation and have described it as a “criminal act”.

An Environment Agency spokesman said today the leak has been stopped and specialist contractors are currently on-site carrying out clean-up operations.

The spokesman said: “The Environment Agency is helping to advise on the clean-up, and we are working with the Canal and Rivers Trust to assess and minimise the environmental impact of the leak. We are also working closely to support Northamptonshire Police, who are leading on the ongoing investigation.”

Firefighters were called out to Gayton Marina shortly before 4.15am on Saturday to discover a highly inflammable fuel from a pipeline near the marina was leaking directly into the water.

The area affected has been contained to about a 600-metre stretch from the Blisworth Arm, running south towards the M1 at Rothershorpe.

The vapour created can cause breathing difficulties and as a result 10 people were evacuated from the immediate area and were treated by staff from the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Police have also searched all 150 boats in the immediate area to check if anyone else was on board.

Chief Supt Paul Fell, who is leading the operation for Northamptonshire Police, said: “This was a criminal act which has had very significant environmental consequences in that stretch of the canal.”

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious in that area during the early hours of today to contact us as soon as possible on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 222.”