Two men responsible for the theft of nearly £6,000 of fuel in 68 offences against service stations across the West Midlands have been jailed.

The men used three vehicles and stole more than 3,700 litres of fuel by filling up tanks and containers in the back of vehicles and then driving off without paying. The offences even continued after the men had been arrested and released on bail.

Prosecutor Robert Price told Wolverhampton Crown Court the cars used by the thieves all carried plates bearing the same registration number and they filled-up at garages in Rugeley, Brownhills, Cannock, West Bromwich and Wednesbury.

Ian Moorhouse was described as the “prime mover” in the offending having been regularly caught on CCTV behind the wheel of one of the vehicles.

Wayne Taundry was also identified on four of the thefts before the pair were caught trying to steal more petrol from a service station in West Bromwich.

Moorhouse, aged 45 of Bridgewater Close, Brownhills and 26-year-old Taundry of Hollands Road, Blakenall, Walsall, both admitted two charges of conspiracy to steal petrol and driving while disqualified.

Judge Michael Challinor handed down jail sentences of 18 months for Moorhouse and a year for Taundry and they were both banned from driving for three years.

Gurdeep Garcha, defending the two men, said it was not sophisticated offending. “They were not a Premiership gang – they were bottom of the Championship.”

Christopher Taundry, aged 31 and also of Bridgewater Close, admitted one charge of conspiracy to steal and he will be sentenced by the judge at a future date.