A crook has been convicted of stealing almost £1,800 of fuel in drive-offs from forecourts and selling it on to other motorists.

At Stockport Magistrates’ Court, David Bardsley admitted 18 counts of making off without payment over a seven-month period and one charge of driving a motor vehicle without a licence.

Sixteen of the eighteen offences were at the same Tesco forecourt where he used false numberplates on a friend’s car.

He told the court he felt “encouraged” to carry on as no one challenged him on the forecourt.

He was caught after targeting the Tesco filling station in Glossop, Derbyshire, on January 29 and Derbyshire police were able to track down the vehicle he was driving.

He stole a total of £1,259 worth of fuel from the Tesco fuel station, as well as fuel worth £384 from an Esso site and £101 from a BP petrol station.

He was ordered to complete a 12 month community order plus 200 hours of unpaid work but was only ordered to pay back £600 to Tesco for the stolen fuel. He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to the Esso site and nothing to the BP site.

His driving licence was endorsed with six penalty points.