A SOWETO man who allegedly deals in stolen diesel sold the fuel to a police officer unaware that he was walking into a trap.
The 54-year-old man from Zola was nabbed after he had just sold a metro police officer two 25-litre containers of diesel.
The man's arrest came after Pikitup, the City of Joburg's refuse-collection company, laid a complaint with the metro police that they suspected their trucks were being drained of diesel.
The City of Joburg said although they had their suspicions, they did not know how the trucks were being drained.
Spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said: "We established during our investigations that the trucks were filled up at our depot and then emptied in Dube.
"Our investigating officer drove around in Dube until he came to a place where there are a number of trucks.
"He met the suspect, who we believe is one of the mechanics there. The investigator started inquiring about a place where he could get diesel at a reasonable price.
The suspect took his number and called him today (yesterday).
"The investigator said he needed four 25-litre containers of diesel - but the man refused saying he could not sell him that much since he was a new client. They then settled for two containers at R130 each."
The officer went to the man's house as planned. The man then went out to collect the diesel from a nearby shopping centre.
The second officer who had remained behind during the trap joined his colleague in the arrest.
Later, police discovered a huge container in which the suspected stolen diesel was stored.
A case of possession of illegally obtained property was opened at the Jabulani police station.
"We will seek legal advice to check if we can add another charge, that is if the man had violated the Petroleum Act because he does not have permission to trade in fuel," Modingoane said.
Modingoane thinks this is the work of a syndicate and "we hope to get to the bottom of this and expect further arrests".
The suspect had earlier turned away two other metro police officers who had approached him on the pretext that they wanted to purchase cheap diesel.
The man is expected to appear in court soon.