A THATCHAM man admitted to fraud after filling up his car at a Bath Road petrol station on five separate occasions and driving away without paying.
Jordan Campbell, of Blyth Avenue, made off with more than £230 of petrol from the Texaco Petrol Station during December 2016 in what was described as a crime of “low sophistication”.
The 21-year-old filled in the ‘no means to pay’ form each time, giving a false name and address to staff in the hope they wouldn’t unravel the basic ruse.
However, as pointed out by his own defence during a hearing at Reading Magistrates Court last Thursday, police were easily able to track down Mr Campbell after viewing CCTV of the forecourt.
On arrest, the labourer admitted the crime and said he had been "silly and stupid" and would deal with the consequences.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation.
Mike Davis, defending, pointed to Mr Campbell’s previous good character, saying he had never been to court before.
“But now that unblemished record will be gone,” he added.
“Having a fraud conviction on your record does not look good.”
Mr Davis continued: “When he came to see me this week the word he used was stupid and I think that pretty much covers it.”
Asking for magistrates to consider a conditional discharge for his client, Mr Davis said the crime was of “low sophistication”.
“The charge is fraud,” he said.
“So there’s an element of planning, but I think if he’d thought it through he would be aware most petrol stations have CCTV and all cars have number plates so it doesn't take a lot of detective work to track down the registered keeper.”
The court heard how Mr Campbell had been struggling financially, with his partner pregnant with their first child and the fraud seemed like an “easy way of lessening the financial pressure”.
After a short deliberation, magistrates ordered Mr Campbell to pay compensation to the petrol station of £232.14 plus a fine and costs totalling £350.