Three men will appear in Tauranga District Court today after allegedly being caught siphoning fuel from vehicles used in the Tauranga Eastern Link project.

The three local men, aged in their 20s, were apprehended charged with theft after reports that men were siphoning diesel from vehicles and machinery parked on Bell Rd, Papamoa.

The men were arrested after being found in the area about 10pm yesterday, Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Carl Purcell said.

The vehicles belong to contractors working on the New Zealand Transport Agency's TEL project, construction of a major highway better linking the area to the eastern region.