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Petrol thief filled up vehicle and then drove off without paying

Declan Walsh pleaded guilty at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Declan Walsh pleaded guilty at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

A Bury St Edmunds man stole hundreds of pounds worth of fuel after filling up at petrol stations and then driving off without paying, a court heard.

Declan Walsh, 32, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft – making off without payment.

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

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.

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

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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.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett told the court that Walsh’s number plate was flagged by police and he was stopped on August 12 on the A14.

Mr Ablett said Walsh, of Mortimer Road, Bury St Edmunds, cooperated fully with police, telling them: “I’m going to admit everything.”

Eloise Churchill, defending, said Walsh was “exceptionally embarrassed and remorseful” for what he had done.

“During lockdown he was out of work and had broken up with a long-term partner,” she said.

“He was living in Brentwood with his mother and had no money for fuel – and that is how each offence has taken place.

“He is exceptionally embarrassed and remorseful about every single one of them.”

Magistrates ordered an all options pre-sentence report from the Probation Service.

Walsh, who was released on unconditional bail, will be sentenced before magistrates in Ipswich on January 12.


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