Fuel thief ends up footing bill for court date



A MOTORIST filled his car with more than £20 of petrol and drove off without paying as he couldn’t afford to purchase fuel.

Robert Laidler was worried his car was running out of petrol, so he stopped off at St Matthew’s Service Station in York Avenue, Jarrow, to fill up.

But when staff spotted his headlights were still on as he put unleaded petrol into his vehicle, she turned off the pump.

The 22-year-old had already taken £22.45 worth of petrol, and quickly got back in his car and drove off.

His registration plate was noted on the garage’s CCTV and he was subsequently arrested.

Laidler, of Franklin Court, Concord, Washington, pleaded guilty to making off without payment at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He carried out the theft on Wednesday, February 12.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “A member of staff at the garage noticed him pull up beside the pump and start to fill up his car.

“When she noticed he still had his headlights on, she became suspicious and switched off the pump.

“He then got in the car and drove off.

“He had managed to fill up the car with £22 of petrol at that stage.

“He is seen on CCTV and his registration plate is noted.

“He was arrested and fully admitted the offence.

“He said he didn’t have enough money to pay for the petrol.”

Sandra Fife, defending, said: “When arrested, he said he was running out of petrol and was concerned about not being able to get home.

“He very wrongly decided to take petrol without paying for it.”

Dr Theresa Waring, chairman of the magistrates, handed Laidler a 12-month conditional discharge.

He was also ordered to pay compensation to the service station of £22.45, court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.


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