AN OIL giant has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 after a major fuel leak threatened Poole Harbour.

Chevron, which runs Texaco service stations, had ignored several warnings about a possible leak before the incident in October 2006.

The firm stored fuel in vast steel tanks, which held one million litres each, at the Texaco depot at Poole Port, and any pollution could have posed a major threat to wildlife.

Almost 30,000 litres of leaked diesel entered Wessex Water’s sewer network, causing severe problems, but quick interception of the spilled fuel prevented a major incident.

“Had there been heavy rainfall at the time, diesel would have escaped from the sewer network into Poole Harbour,” said Julian Wardlaw, prosecuting.

Fuel had escaped from Chevron’s tanks and through a concrete bund, constructed around the container to prevent any leak.

Environment Agency officers discovered Chevron had been advised on “a number of occasions” to replace the sealant between the tank and the bund, but had failed to carry out the work.

Appearing before a district judge at Bournemouth magistrates’, Chevron Ltd, of Canary Wharf, London, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £5,511 costs after pleading guilty to causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter controlled waters.