The commanding officer, 3 Battalion, Lt. Col. Ifeanyi Otu, made this known while parading the suspects before newsmen. The operation was carried out at Opumami, Bennet Island and Macaraba areas of Warri South and South-West Local Government Areas.
He stated that during the early hour operation to stamp out illegal refineries in the the state, the team arrested two women dealing in illegally refined diesel, alongside the three men. They also destroyed 15 mammy boats, used for conveying illegally refined petroleum products.
Commander Otu listed the names of the arrested surveillance workers as Olotoye Rufus, Emotoghan Akpos, and a worker in one of the illegal refineries, Victor Tene.
He said the suspected female oil thieves include Tokere Lucky, 22, and Ebibare Ayas, 36, adding that they would be thoroughly investigated and then handed over to the appropriate authorities for possible prosecution.
It was learn that the surveillance workers were caught at the entrance of a creek where illegal bunkering is conducted while the women were caught while busy transferring refined products from jerry-cans.