STAFF at a service station switched off a petrol pump when they suspected that a “drive-off” was about to take place, Limerick District Court has heard.
Francis Casey, 20, of Clonlong, Southill, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making off without paying for over €36 worth of fuel at Great Gas in Castleconnell on March 6 last.
Solicitor Sara Ryan told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that Casey was a passenger and that he had got out and filled the car with petrol.
Ms Ryan said her instructions were that Casey had stopped filling the car simply because he had enough. No evidence had been supplied to Ms Ryan in advance of the hearing that the pump had been switched off by staff who became suspicious, she said in response to Inspector Paul Reidy. Insp Reidy said the driver had taken off immediately after the pump had been turned off.
Casey had accumulated 49 previous convictions, including several for theft, the court heard.
Casey’s record for theft offences was described as “appalling” by Judge O’Kelly.
He noted, however, that Casey had entered a guilty plea and was offering €40 in compensation to the owner of the business, Jeff Lynch, to make good the loss. The judge said Casey should also be given some credit for getting through 2011 without a conviction.
He was fined €500 with 16 weeks to pay or two days in prison in default.