VICTORIA – What started as a case of gasoline syphoning at a golf course in Nanoose Bay ended in significant environmental damage for the surrounding area, according to Oceanside RCMP.

On Thursday morning, RCMP say that maintenance workers at Fairwinds Golf Course called police to report a theft. Sometime overnight or in the early morning, thieves had broken into the golf course's maintenance compound and broke the locks to fuel containers in order to syphon gasoline.

After the thieves left, police say that a gas pump handle was left "wide open," leading to a massive spill the next day. 

On Thursday, police say that golf course staff turned on their gasoline pipes in the morning, causing approximately 400 litres of fuel to spill out of the open handle onto the ground. The gas then seeped into nearby areas, including ponds located on the golf course. 

Police say that golf course staff members are now working with the Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department to clean up the spill.

"This is more serious than mischief and theft, these thieves caused environmental damage to the area," said Cpl. Jesse Foreman of the Oceanside RCMP.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111.