Diesel thief fails to get confiscated car back

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A DIESEL thief who boasted about his activities on a bumper sticker has had his car confiscated.

Robert Gallon had a sticker saying “midnight removals” on his customised Ford Orion when he was stopped by police in the early hours, Durham Crown Court heard.

“He was pulled over near Dalton Park,” said Rachel Landin, prosecuting. “The police officer was suspicious of his demeanour.

“A search of the car revealed four fuel cans, a hand-driven pump and piping.

“The officer asked Gallon about the sticker and he smirked, which appeared to be an effort at humour.”

Gallon, 29 of Kent Walk, Peterlee, was convicted of fraudulently using a fuel card at Esso in Seaham, theft of a fuel card from his employer, fraud involving £1,900 of fuel, and going equipped for theft.

Peterlee magistrates gave Gallon a 12-month community order, unpaid work, and ordered him to pay £700 compensation.

The Orion was seized as an item used in crime. Jane Waugh, for Gallon, told Durham Crown Court he was appealing against the vehicle seizure part of the sentence.

She added: “He is a single man with no children. Effectively, the car was his baby his pride and joy. It was customised and, he estimates, worth about £2,000. He is a trained car mechanic, but cannot get work without a car and cannot afford to buy one on his benefits.”

However, Judge Christopher Prince said: “We find the magistrates who sentenced you acted entirely properly in taking the car.

“Not only were you out looking to steal fuel while on bail, but you were also boasting about it by means of the bumper sticker.”

He ordered Gallon to pay the £330 costs of the appeal hearing. Gallon said: “I’m not paying nowt.”

The judge ordered the money to be deducted from his benefits.