Police stopped driver who planned to steal diesel

The defendant appeared at Skipton Magistrates' Court

The defendant appeared at Skipton Magistrates' Court

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A 22-year-old stopped by police in Gargrave had bolt cutters, balaclavas, a hose and plastic tank in his car, Skipton magistrates heard.

Christopher Flemming was in a Daihatsu Fourtrak with two other men when he was stopped in Eshton Road at around 11pm on October 3, the court was told on Monday.

Flemming, who originally denied going equipped for theft, with his two colleagues, Mark Smithies, 22, and Daniel Watkin, 24, both from Burnley, changed his plea to guilty ahead of Monday’s trial. No evidence was offered by the crown against Watkin and Smithies and their cases were dismissed.

Flemming, the court heard, was a countryman who had permission to hunt rabbits in Pendle and the Ribble Valley and at the time was scouting for new land to hunt.

In mitigation, Nick Dearing said it had been basically an innocent outing, although there had been an intention to use the hose and drum to steal diesel if the Fourtrak ran out of fuel.

“This was the stupidity of a young man on what was basically a legitimate trip,” he said.

Magistrates, who could have confiscated the vehicle and imposed a driving ban, decided against both after hearing Flemming worked in Scotland as a bakery fitter, had three young children and had no previous convictions for dishonesty.

Flemming, of Accrington Road, Burnley, was handed a 12-month community order with 120 hours unpaid work, costs of £360 and a victims surcharge of £60.

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