A MAN removed the number plates off a car as its owner slept before trying to steal fuel from a petrol station under the noses of passing police officers.
Karam Kang had not counted on police becoming suspicious when they saw a registration belonging to a Renault Clio attached to a Renault Megane, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Officers who happened to pull up at the BP garage in Wessington Way,at 4.35am, on September 2, saw a nervous-looking Kang standing next to the Megane which had stopped at a fuel pump.
Unemployed Kang, who lives above his parents’ shop in Hendon Road, then filled the car with £64.51 worth of fuel.
Raising the suspicions of police, a registration check was made and on closer inspection two sets of number plates were found on the car.
The plates covering the car’s genuine registration plates had been taken from a vehicle parked outside a Sunderland home the same night.
Kang, 21, who was already subject to a community order, was arrested, and also tested positive for cocaine.
He later pleaded guilty to theft and making off without payment, along with an additional charge of failing to attend a drugs assessment.
A probation service report described Kang’s parents as upstanding members of the community, who were horrified at his behaviour.
Peter Thubron, mitigating, said: “His family is a Sikh family. He follows that faith and goes to a Sikh temple twice a week. He can well appreciate why his family is so upset.”
Mr Thubron said that although there were others in the car, his client had taken full responsibility.
“All of this happened in a flash,” he said. “It wasn’t pre-planned. They were going out to get petrol and someone had this idea, it all happened within 10 minutes.”
Kang, was handed a 12-month supervision order and told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £64.51 in compensation, £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.