Court orders removal of vehicle from man who mounted series of petrol station drive-offs

A judge has ordered that a Ford vehicle which was seized by police from a man who mounted a series of petrol station drive-offs should be forfeited.

Connor Duggan (20), of Lisnablagh Road, Coleraine, previously pleaded guilty to making off without paying for fuel at several filling stations.

He struck twice at Craigs Service Station, Limavady; twice at Route Service Station, Ballymoney; and also at Roebuck Service Station, Limavady, and Ivan Wilson’s Service Station at Dunhill Road near Coleraine.

The total amount of fuel taken was £286.70 with the individual amounts ranging from £41 to £52.

The incidents happened in December 2017 and January 2018.

Six charges of going equipped for theft by having ‘black tape for use in the course of or in connection with any burglary or theft’ regarding the incidents were previously withdrawn by the prosecution.

The defendant was at Coleraine Magistrates Court for sentencing.

Defence barrister Thomas McKeever said the defendant had “learning difficulties” and had been associating with negative peer groups but has now disassociated himself from them and stayed out of trouble.

The lawyer accepted the charges were “very serious offences”.

District Judge Peter King said the defendant had eleven previous convictions.

He said the drive-offs had been “persistent” and handed down a five months jail term but suspended it for two years.

The judge said after getting away with the offence once the defendant had continued to try his luck.

He said that type of behaviour would not be tolerated by courts.

Agreeing to a prosecution request for the seized vehicle to be forfeited, the judge said the vehicle was “clearly an integral part” of the offending.

The judge told Duggan he was now “one further stupid offence” away from going to prison.

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