Threatened into trying to steal fuel

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A JOBLESS man found himself involved in an attempt to steal diesel after getting in debt to a group of travellers.

Darren Smith (35) appeared in Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where he admitted the attempted theft of the fuel from South Holland District Council’s depot in West Marsh Road.

The court heard that in the early hours of March 3, police officers were on patrol in the industrial area after a spate of diesel thefts from the depot.

They spotted two men removing fuel drums and taking them to a car parked on the nearby river bank.

When approached, the two men ran for the car and drove away towards the A16, but were stopped by another police vehicle.

John Clare, prosecuting, told magistrates the passenger ran away from the scene, leaving the driver sitting in the driver’s seat.

He smelled strongly of diesel fumes.

Mr Clare said: “On his arrest and caution Smith made a significant comment to police, saying ‘I know you don’t care, but he’s a traveller. I owe him money and they made me do it but I’m the one that got caught.”

Carrie Simson, defending, said Smith, of Crabtree, Paston, Peterborough, had agreed to drive the other man to the depot to repay the debt he owed.

She said: “He had received threats from these travellers to repay this debt.

“He simply drove the vehicle.”

Magistrates imposed a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered Smith to pay £85 court costs.