A suspected UK fuel thief, who realised that the Wiltshire police helicopter searching for him had heat-detecting equipment on-board, dived into the nearest dung heap hoping to avoid being detected.

The suspected crook, a Lithuanuan living in Ilford, Essex, knew he had to find somewhere warm to hide in the hope of evading detection by the cops’ thermal imaging camera.

In the middle of the countryside near Marlborough, the man had no choice but to head for the hottest thing he could find – a huge pile of rotting farmyard manure.

But after running from his van, which was fitted with a huge tank in the back and pumping equipment, the suspect was so hot that even in the warmth of the dung-heap at Red Barn Farm at Manton he glowed on the chopper’s heat-detecting screen even redder than the manure.

Police officers on the ground were directed by the chopper’s police observer to the steaming pile of manure where they apprehended the feckless felon and arrested him.

One police insider said: “He gave up quietly when he realised he was in the s**t in more ways than one.”

The suspect remains in custody while inquiries into the incident continue.

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