Ipswich/Woodbridge: Fuel fraudster Matthew Lewis spared jail after failing to pay for petrol

Petrol fraudster spared jail

Petrol fraudster spared jail - Credit: Getty Images

A fuel fraudster has been spared jail after failing to pay for petrol from garages on five occasions.

Matthew Lewis, of Foxhall Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court to five counts of fraud by false representation involving petrol stations in Woodbridge and Ipswich.

Magistrates heard the 30-year-old also had a previous conviction for similar offences.

Prosecutor Tess Mann said the Lewis’ latest frauds occurred over a 12-month period.

On each occasion Lewis had put petrol in his vehicle, but told a member of staff at the garages that he did not have the money to pay.

He signed declarations stating he intended to return to make recompense, but never did.

The frauds were detected by an investigator for Shell. All the garages involved in the offences were owned by the Shell Group.

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Mrs Mann said the Shell crime consultant’s attention was drawn to the fact that declarations had been signed and the person involved was supposed to return with seven days.

The investigator then found others relating to the same car.

The offences took place on August 20, 2012, February 20, March 13, May 27, and July 12.

The amounts of fuel Lewis took on each occasion ranged between £10 and £35.

Mark Holt, representing Lewis, said his client had intended to go back to the petrol stations to hand over the money he owed, but another situation occurred and “matters got out of hand”.

Magistrates sentenced Lewis to an eight-week prison term, suspended for 12 months.

He was also given a supervision order, including a thinking skills programmes.

Lewis must also abide by a curfew between 8pm and 8am, and pay compensation to Shell of £100.07.