A man who stole over 1,000 litres of diesel from a Portadown trucking company has been handed a six-month prison sentence.
Laurentiu Chile, who was found by police hiding under a lorry, was also ordered to pay a compensation order of £1,891 and given 20 weeks to do so.
The 29-year-old, whose address is listed as Corcrain Avenue, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday via videolink from Maghaberry.
He was charged with one count of burglary of a non-dwelling and three counts of theft.
Appearing with the assistance of an interpreter, the charges were read to him and he was asked if he wished to go for trial by jury or have the case dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, to which he replied, “this court”.
He then informed the court that he was pleading guilty to all charges.
The court heard that on March 10 this year, the company in question reported to police that two males had entered their premises and taken 300L of diesel from a parked lorry.
On March 12, a second business reported to police that two males had entered their premises and had stolen an iPhone from the canteen area.
On March 13, the same two males were seen walking in the vicinity of the trucking company carrying several containers. They were reported to have taken 1,000L of diesel.
CCTV footage showed the diesel being put into the containers which were transported using a wheelbarrow.
On March 20, the company contacted police stating that the two males were on their property. Police attended and located the defendant hiding under a lorry.
On hearing the facts, a defence solicitor told the court that it was a “particularly nasty offence in the current climate”.
He added: “I also accept that by virtue of the fact he went back a second time there’s clearly an element of pre-meditation.”
He did, however, argue that the defendant should be given credit for entering a plea of guilty and that he had been on remand in custody for four and a half months, which is the equivalent of a nine month sentence.
It was noted that the defendant is Romanian and hadn’t been in Northern Ireland for long when the offences were committed.
The defence further stated that the defendant was only one of the two men to be identified and arrested.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said that the charges were “very serious offences”.
She commented: “I appreciate he has entered a plea of guilty… and he has already spent quite a lengthy period of time on remand.”
District Judge Kelly decided to impose a period of six months in custody for the charges before the court and ordered that a compensation order of £1,891 be paid within 20 weeks.