Man, who scaled a 7ft fence of a housing development to steal the fuel, claimed he intended to ‘sell it to gypsies’.
A fuel thief was caught by a dog and security man as he siphoned-off red diesel from a digger on a housing development.
Man scaled a 7ft fence to sneak into the Bernica Home compound, on Green Lane, Ashington, in order to steal the fuel.
And, when he was caught after trying to flee from a security man’s dog, the 44-year-old claimed he intended to “sell the diesel to gypsies”, a court was told.
In his failed theft attempt, he did manage to cause £1,500-worth of damage to the digger, some of which he will now have to pay back in compensation.
South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court was told that he had managed to steal two or three tins of fuel but dropped them as he tried to escape.
On arrest, he was also found to be in possession of plastic containers and tubing.
He appeared in the dock on Thursday, where he admitted one count of theft from a motor vehicle.
Ordering him to pay £500 compensation towards the cost of damage to the digger, Judge said: “You were sensible in that you were prepared to admit what you did as soon as you stopped running away and were caught.
“You told everyone exactly what you were doing there.”
prosecutors, said it was around 9.35pm on December 8 last year when a security guard became aware that there was a motion activation at the housing site.
“The defendant has managed to scale a 7ft fence to gain access,” she added. “He then has extracted red diesel fuel from one of the vehicles.
“In doing so, there has been quite a bit of damage caused to the filler cap and ripped piping. That costs £600 in parts to repair and £900 in labour.”
The court heard that the security guard and his dog chased Routledge as he tried to hop back over the fence, dropping his stolen goods in the process.
The prosecutor continued: “The defendant is ultimately detained by the security man and his dog. The police attend and he smells strongly of diesel.
“He’s subsequently interviewed and makes full admissions, saying his intention was to sell the fuel to gypsies.”
Graham Crouth, defending, said that he had committed the offence after becoming “extremely short of money” due to his Universal Credit.
“He couldn’t make ends meet,” the solicitor told the court. “He and his partner had been to food banks but you’re only allowed to go three times in a 12-month period and they had maxed that.
He couldn’t see any other way, other than committing the offence, of making money.”
It was said that it had been some years since Routledge had bothered the courts and he didn’t intend to again.
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