FINED: Jobless serial diesel thief who stole fuel from Sevenoaks garage

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By kentsussex | Friday, January 18, 2013, 15:37

An unemployed man used a company car which he had not given back when he was made redundant to steal more than £700 of diesel.

Adam Crowley, 49, from Market Meadow in Orpington, admitted in court this week to stealing four sets of number plates from Dartford, London and Swanley. 

He then used those plates to carry out a host of bilking offences – drive-away fuel thefts – at petrol stations in West Kent.

Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 15 January sentenced him to three stints of 200 hours of unpaid work, to be served concurrently, as part of a supervised community order.

He must also pay back a total of £709.74 to the fuel stations in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and West Malling from which he took hundreds of litres of diesel last year. 

Furthermore, Crowley must cough up £30 in compensation to each of the four drivers from whom he took number plates, plus £85 towards his prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

On top of the community work, he faces a total bill of £929.74.

Crowley was caught by Kent Police in part thanks to the work of its Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team.

Martin Lyddon, who manages the ANPR Research Unit, said: "Between January and November 2012 a series of theft from motor vehicles and make off of fuel offences occurred, predominantly in the West Kent area. 

"The ANPR Research Unit linked the offences and was able to identify the correct index number of a black Honda Civic.

"Further enquiries identified that this was a leased company vehicle and it was established that the employee, having been made redundant some four months previously, had failed to return it."

He added: "Prosecutions such as this prove that prolific offenders, even those who use false index plates, will be caught. 

"This is a further case where the use of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system has been used effectively and efficiently to catch offenders like Crowley."

In court, Crowley pleaded guilty to three charges – taking number plates worth £30 from a motor vehicle in Dartford on 27 January 2012, taking diesel worth £81.38 from a garage in West Malling on 15 March 2012 and taking diesel worth £90.51 from a garage in West Malling on 27 October 2012.

He admitted to a further three instances of stolen number plates and six more of bilking which were taken into consideration.

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