A plucky driver who stole nearly £300 worth of fuel from four different petrol stations around Bury St Edmunds had been going through money troubles, a court has heard.
Carl Robert Sturman, 34, appeared at West Suffolk Magistrates Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to three counts of making off without payment from garages in Great Barton, Stanton and Thetford from September to November 2014.
During police interviews he also admitted two similar offences, including one at a petrol station in Bury, for which he was not charged.
In total Sturman, of Coney Weston Road, Sapiston, relieved the garages of £284.54 worth of fuel.
Prosecuting, Ian Devine said: “It is traditional to pay for petrol, but apparently Mr Sturman is the exception to that rule.”
In mitigation, Claire Lockwood said Sturman ‘wanted to make good’ on the payments.
“There are a number of reasons why this started, and as a result he has very stupidly committed these offences,” she said.
The court heard Sturman had recently been signed off work due to a back injury and was ‘trying to get through’ on very strong pain killers. Ms Lockwood also said Sturman’s relationship with his long-term partner had recently broken down.
“A young man who had previously been working full time has now had quite a difference in his life,” she said. “It is difficult for a long-term relationship to come to an end and I think he coped with that well.”
Ms Lockwood said Sturman was aware his offences were ‘easily detectable’ due to the use of cameras with number plate recognition at the garages.
Sentencing him, John Askers said: “No matter what kind of difficulty you were in at the time you need to pay for fuel, and when there is a great big camera looking at you, you are not going to get away with it.”
Sturman was ordered to pay compensation of £284.54 as well as costs of £85 to the court.