A man who stole more than £6,000 worth of fuel from petrol stations across southern England and South Wales has been jailed for eight months.

Mark Morgan, from Newport, hired vans with false number plates to carry out the crime wave, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

His trail of 46 thefts was brought to an end when a police officer stopped him for a routine check shortly after his last raid on a petrol station at Ashchurch, near Tewkesbury.

The officer spotted number plates and some velcro strips in the van – and two large tanks full of diesel.

Morgan pleaded guilty to nine charges of theft of fuel from petrol stations in Ashchurch, Cheltenham and Gloucester between November 13 and December 12.

He also admitted going equipped for theft with fake number plates and asked for 37 other offences of theft from garages in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, South Wales, Bristol and Berkshire to be taken into consideration.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC jailed him for eight months after telling him he had undertaken “persistent and continuous offending”.