West Stow: Magistrate tells defendant ‘You are guilty of buying diesel from travellers’

Man bought diesel from travellers

Man bought diesel from travellers - Credit: PA

A magistrate told a man that admitted handling stolen fuel that he was “guilty of being stupid” by buying diesel from travellers.

Scott Hyam, of West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, admitted a single charge of dishonestly receiving stolen goods when he appeared at West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Bury, yesterday.

The court was told that the 27-year-old was traced by police after reports of theft of fuel from tractors at a farm on June 20.

DNA from a cigarette butt found at the scene matched that of Hyam’s.

Rosalind Cappleman, prosecuting, said that although Hyam had not been at the crime scene he told police he had bought 20 litres of fuel from travellers on three occasions and may have entered their vehicle and discarded a cigarette.

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Malcolm Plummer, mitigating, said there was no evidence Hyam had been involved in the theft and the charges related to information he had disclosed in police interview.

Mr Plummer said his client was a self-employed painter and decorator whose major outgoing was fuel for his diesel-powered van.

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He added: “He was tempted to buy very cheap diesel from these travellers and in the interview he was very candid.”

The court was told that Hyam – who was dressed in a white T-shirt – had 16 previous offences.

None of them related to dishonesty.

Chairman of the magistrates, Joy Watkins-Ellis, said she gave the decorator credit for his early guilt plea.

She added: “If anything, you are guilty of being stupid of buying diesel from travellers.

“We will take into account your early guilty plea.”

Mrs Watkins-Ellis said that Hyam would be given a 12-month conditional discharge and warned him that if he committed an offence within a year he would be sentenced more harshly.

Hyam was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.

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