Man who drove away from petrol stations without paying for fuel avoids jail

Nicholas Greer will now appear at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in the new year Picture: ARCHANT

Declan Walsh previously pleaded guilty before magistrates in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

A man who stole hundreds of pounds worth of fuel after filling up at petrol stations and then driving off without paying has avoided prison. 

Declan Walsh, 32, previously pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft – making off without payment before magistrates following a spate of incidents in 2020. 

The offences happened at 10 different petrol stations in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire between March 7 and August 8 last year. 

More than £500 worth of petrol was stolen in the thefts.

Walsh’s five-month spree began in Milton, Cambridgeshire on March 7 when an unknown amount of fuel was stolen.

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On June 6, he stole £51.63 from a petrol station in Bury St Edmunds, and this was followed by another Bury theft – for £52.42 – six days later.

A station in Bury was targeted again the following day when Walsh stole £56.42 worth of fuel.

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Thetford was his next destination, with a total of £108.45 worth of fuel stolen in two incidents on June 24 and July 9.

A station in Bury was hit again on July 15, with £61.21 of fuel taken before an incident in Woodbridge on July 22 when Walsh filled up with £61.28 worth of fuel before driving off without paying.

Two further incidents happened in Thetford on August 2 and Brandon on August 8, with a total of £116.54 of fuel stolen.

Walsh’s number plate was flagged by police and he was stopped on August 12 on the A14.

The court previously heard that Walsh, of Mortimer Road, Bury St Edmunds, cooperated fully with police, telling them: “I’m going to admit everything.”

The court also previously heard that Walsh was "exceptionally embarrassed and remorseful" for the offences and had no money for fuel as he was out of work during lockdown. 

Walsh pleaded guilty to all 10 offences at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich on November 10. 

On Monday, magistrates in Ipswich sentenced Walsh to 16 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and he was ordered to pay compensation for each offence. 

He was also banned from driving for three months by magistrates. 

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