A festive fuel thief who carried out two petrol pump crimes in the space of three days has been finally made to pay up by magistrates in South Tyneside.
Lee Reay filled up his Honda Civic car with £38.92 worth of petrol from the Esso service station, in Newcastle Road, South Shields, on December 24 before driving off without offering payment.
Just two days later the same man was on the lookout for another Christmas gift – this time fleeing the service Station, in Boldon Lane, South Shields, without paying for £30 of petrol.
During the second theft, he filled up a Renault car which – when he was arrested – he told police belonged to his son.
Police inquiries soon discovered the 41-year-old did not have insurance for either car.
It was also found that his driving licence was revoked at the time of the offences.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told to the court: “On December 24 and December 26, the defendant attended two separate petrol stations and left without paying.
“On Christmas Eve he was driving a Honda Civic when he failed to pay for £38.92 of fuel and he was driving a Renault Clio during the offence on December 26.
“When interviewed by police, he said that he had tried to pay on December 26 but has card had been declined.
“He said he couldn’t recall the incident on December 24.”
Mrs Beck said that compensation for the petrol theft on December 26 should go directly to petrol station worker Diane Brown.
This was because magistrates were told Ms Brown had that amount stolen deducted from her wages.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said that Reay accepted he would have to pay the full amounts back.
Mr Forrester said: “Compensation has to be ordered for the amount.
“It seems dreadfully unfair that the cashier has to pay out for this theft on December 26.
“It seems to be a very harsh practice by the employers.”
Ian Alexander, chairman of the magistrates, ordered Reay, of Commercial Road, South Shields, to pay £38.92 compensation to Esso for the theft on December 24 as well as £30 compensation to Diane Brown for the theft two days later.
He was also banned from the road for 12 months for driving without insurance and no licence.