Man took hundreds of pounds worth of fuel from petrol stations without paying – and police knew about it

A 54-year-old drove off from a number of petrol stations without paying for nearly £450 worth of diesel because he was “short of money”.

However, he was able to commit more than half of those offences after police found out about the first three.

Richard Bone pleaded guilty to eight counts of making off without payment when he appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

He committed the offences at various locations around West Norfolk and Suffolk, including in Lynn.

The Morrisons petrol station in Lynn was one of those Richard Bone failed to pay for diesel at. Picture: Google Maps
The Morrisons petrol station in Lynn was one of those Richard Bone failed to pay for diesel at. Picture: Google Maps

Bone filled his vehicle up with diesel at the likes of Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in the town, with amounts including £60, £66.50 and £65.69. In all, he did this five times in Lynn between May 25 and September 6.

He also did the same at Beccles and Saxmundham in Suffolk, as well as Wincanton in Avon and Somerset.

Crown prosecutor Sally Harris said that Bone, of Daseley’s Close in Lynn, was stopped by police on June 8 while he was driving his transit van. Officers had identified his vehicle as the one involved in the three offences committed up to that point.

He was interviewed at the roadside and admitted he was the culprit, but told officers he would return to the petrol stations and pay them back in the near future. Officers gave him the benefit of the doubt and allowed him to do so.

However, on September 6, they checked up on his progress and found he had not made any attempt to do so. Upon receiving information that he was driving along the A47, they were able to pull him over once again before arresting him.

At the time, Bone told officers he had been unable to pay for the fuel because he was owed money by other people.

In total, he took £446.21 worth of diesel without paying for it.

Mitigating, George Sorrell said: “When a person leaves the garage without paying, the offence has been committed. He would never have done it in the first place if he hadn’t been short of money and had to get to work.

“Of course, he realises now he shouldn’t resort to dishonesty – crime – in order to overcome financial difficulty.

“He is basically honest, because apart from some offending as a teenager for dishonesty, since then he has been quite honest – and there have been no cases of dishonesty. He was desperate.

“If people think they can get away with this type of crime, it will put up the cost of petrol even more.”

Bone was handed a two-year community order on August 31 in relation to another matter, requiring him to complete Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

Lynn magistrates, led by Paul Redhead, therefore handed him an additional 12-month order which will require him to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

Bone will also pay full compensation to the petrol stations he took diesel from, as well as £50 in court costs and a £114 victim surcharge.