King’s Lynn driver admits 17 fuel fraud claims

editorial image
Have your say

A driver racked up hundreds of pounds of debt by obtaining fuel without paying on 17 separate occasions, a court has heard.

Daniel Brown targeted eight petrol stations, using four different vehicles, over a five month period last year, Lynn magistrates were told on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old, of Guanock Terrace, Lynn, was given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to 17 charges of fraud by false representation.

The offences happened between May 24 and October 24 last year and mostly took place in the Lynn area. One count was recorded at West Lynn, Hunstanton and Norwich respectively.

Susanna Chowdhury, prosecuting, said that on each occasion, Brown had filled up his vehicle before going into the shop and informing the attendant that he did not have the money to pay.

He then filled in a civil debt recovery form, which said he would repay the debt within seven days, but had not returned. His debt from the offences totalled £731,14,

Miss Chowdhury said Brown had admitted the offences when interviewed, telling police that he had money troubles. However, he accepted that he had intended to obtain fuel without paying for it.

David Chapple, mitigating, said his client had needed his vehicle in order to work, but could not afford to pay for fuel and had believed that his non-payments would be dealt with as a debt recovery issue, rather than a criminal one.

He said: “It just seems as though he was sticking his head in the sand as to his financial situation.”

Mr Chapple added that Brown had “every incentive” to avoid any further trouble as he has been offered a managerial job in Sussex by his employer.

He was also well aware that he was likely to be jailed if he offended again.

Brown was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay £731.14 in compensation to the companies affected, plus £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.