Police caught suspected self-harmer stealing electricity

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A mercy call landed a man in the dock after keen-eyed cops carrying out a check on his safety spotted that he had tampered with his electricity meter.

Police had been called out to Francis Leonard’s home due to fears he was going to self-harm but noticed the meter in the address had been bypassed.  The 29-year-old admitted bypassing the meter in a bid to save money – but has now ended up with a hefty court bill.

Leonard entered a guilty plea to a charge of dishonestly using a quantity of electricity when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said: “Police attended the address on May 27 in relation to another matter.“They found the electricity meter had been bypassed due to a red wire passing between both terminals.

“An electrician had to be called to make the meter safe.

“When he was arrested, Leonard said he bypassed the meter about three weeks previously to save some money.”

Leonard, of Inverness Road, Jarrow, wrongly used £79 worth of electricity.”

Valerie Bell, prosecuting, said: “Police had been called to the address due to concerns about him self -harming.

“He was taken to hospital but police noticed something had happened with the electricity meter.

“He made full admission to police. He was struggling financially.”

Leonard was given a 12- month community order and must pay £299 compensation – for the electricity used and the cost of sending out an electrician – as well as a criminal court charge of £180 and prosecution costs of £85.