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Man dishonestly used ‘guts of £1,000 of electricity’ through magnet fitted to meter

He was also found to have fireworks at his home

A Portadown man who dishonestly used “the guts of £1,000 of electricity” after fitting a meter with a magnet must wait to learn his fate.

Court also heard that during a search of the 36-year-old’s home police also located a number of fireworks for which the defendant did not own a licence.

George Neill, of Derrylettiff Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing fireworks without a licence, preventing a meter from regulating electricity supplied and dishonestly using electricity at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 25, police conducted a search of the defendant’s home address in Portadown.

During this, officers seized fireworks namely; two dum dum bangers and two solar rockets.

It was also observed by police that an electricity meter at the property had been fitted with a magnet.

During interview, Neill claimed he was not aware it was illegal to be in possession of the fireworks and did not know a licence was required to do so.

He also claimed that he had no knowledge of the magnet which had been placed on the electricity meter.

Prosecution stated that a compensation order of £807.68 was being requested for Power NI.

Defence counsel said: “This is being paid back. There has been an arrangement made by which every £10 top up has £4 removed to cover the arrears. He has already paid over £100.”

Prosecution stated that no such note was on their file and that the application for a compensation order remained.

District Judge Steven Keown said: “There is an issue over restitution, this is the guts of £1,000 of electricity. I would like community disposal to be explored and this time can be used to clarify the situation.”

The case was adjourned until December 20 for sentencing.

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