ESB issues warning in court over electricity theft

THE ESB has been forced to issue a safety warning to people who tamper with supply meters in a bid reduce their recording capacity, after two people were before Kilmallock court for the “theft of electricity”.

THE ESB has been forced to issue a safety warning to people who tamper with supply meters in a bid reduce their recording capacity, after two people were before Kilmallock court for the “theft of electricity”.

Through the State solicitor for County Limerick, Aidan Judge, the ESB said that people who drill holes in the meters “are within a fraction of an inch from being electrocuted”.

Michael Gammell of Sarsfield Street, Kilmallock was before the local court last Friday for unlawfully interfering with electricity on July 27, 2011.

State solicitor Aidan Judge told the court that the prosecution was for the “theft of electricity” by the defendant.

Mr Judge said that the means by which the theft was carried out was by drilling a hole in the ESB meter and inserting an implement which stops the wheel from recording the units.

The court heard that Gammell had no previous convictions.

Mr Judge said that the maximum fine for the offence is €634 or three months imprisonment.

Mr Judge said that he was instructed by the ESB to inform the court that while it views with “considerable concern” any attempt to steal electricity they are “much more concerned for the safety of the people who drill the holes in the meters.”

Defence solicitor, Brendan Gill, said his client who is 29 years of age, inherited the property a number of years ago.

Mr Gill said that it was a historic matter in that “he inherited what was done before as well”.

Mr Gill said his client fully accepted that he is the owner of the property and he said that he had cooperated during the investigation.

Mr Gill said his client had discharged “a substantial amount of arrears” and had paid almost €2,000.

Judge Mary Larkin imposed a fine of €300.

Separately, Donncha O’Dwyer of Spittal, Portauns, Kilmallock was before the court for unlawfully interfering with electricity at Spittal, Portauns, Kilmallock on October 17, 2011.

Mr Judge said that once again the ESB personnel found that the meter had a hole drilled in it with an implement inserted into it “to reduce its recording capacity”.

The court heard that O’Dwyer had no previous convictions. Defence solicitor, Patrick Kelly, said that the meter had since been rectified and added that his client, an unemployed fitter, was holding his hands up and admitted what he had done.

There were no details before the court in relation to the loss of revenue.

Judge Mary Larkin imposed a fine of €300.