A 41-year-old man has been jailed for 18 months at Reading Crown Court for planning to steal number plates and fuel.

Neil Penfold pleaded guilty after being arrested as part of Thames Valley Police’s Operation Colt last November. The operation targeted suspects involved in the theft of number plates and their subsequent use in bilking, in Slough and nearby areas.

According to the Slough & South Bucks Observer, another man also pleaded guilty but will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Constable Joshua Pitts from Thames Valley Police, said: “The conspiracy charge related to 280 incidents of theft of number plates and fuel.

“The actions of this pair not only had a considerable effect on petrol stations in the area, but on victims who were inconvenienced following the theft of their number plates.

“The custodial sentence in this matter demonstrates that taking fuel without payment is not a ‘victimless’ crime.”