Thief ruins own engine after stealing wrong fuel

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A thief wrecked his car engine after he stole heating oil from a garage tank thinking it was red diesel.

The crime was uncovered after a garage owner in Longridge near Preston in Lancashire, noticed fuel was going missing from a tank and checked CCTV footage.

On two occasions he saw a neighbour carrying two 25 litre cans.

Blackburn magistrates heard that a week later a police officer in Neville Street, Longridge, caught Christopher Eddlestone leaving his house with the same containers at 5.30am.

Roger Pickles, defending, told the magistrates there had already been some "poetic justice" in the case.

He said: "Ironically, it turned out not to be red diesel but heating oil and the consequences of him putting it in his car is that it has wrecked the engine."

Eddlestone, 50, of Neville Street, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one of going equipped for theft.

He was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay 77 compensation and 70 costs.

Emma Keogh, prosecuting, said Glynn Stirling, the proprietor of Greenwood Car Sales on Neville Street, was alerted to fuel going missing by a member of staff.

When he checked CCTV he saw Eddlestone on the street in the early hours of the morning on two occasions.

Both times he helped himself to fuel and then went home.

Mr Pickles said Eddlestone worked in London and stole the fuel to get to work.

He said: "He knows he has been incredibly stupid."

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