A FORMER Whitchurch man filled up jerry cans with fuel and drove off without paying on two occasions.

Ben Hughes stole more than £100 worth of diesel and unleaded in the separate incidents at Prees Service Station and Shell Service Station in Tern Hill, when he was unemployed last autumn.

At Telford Magistrates' Court, the 32-year-old admitted both offences.

But the father-of-one, who had a similar previous conviction, also told magistrates that he did not want to be in court again.

Sara Beddows, prosecuting, told the hearing on Wednesday that on both occasions Hughes had driven onto the forecourts, filled up the jerry cans and then gone into the shop.

Referring to the theft of £54.72 in Prees on September 25, she said: "He went into the shop and said he had forgotten his wallet and then drove off without paying for the petrol.

"He was captured on CCTV, as he was in the second incident."


On that occasion on October 9 he filled up with £47.83 but said he had forgotten his wallet and his phone. He provided a false name before leaving without paying.

Ms Beddows added: "Police were able to identify him from CCTV and arrested him."

Paul Hiatt, defending Hughes, said: "The offences were were down to financial difficulties – he was not working and had no benefits.

"He has now had a change in circumstance and is in full-time work as a plant operator."

Magistrates agreed to fine Hughes, who now lives at Oakfield Cottages in Worthen, £450 for each offence and he must pay £54.72 and £47.83 in compensation to both service stations, plus court costs of £185.

Chairman of the bench, David Styles, said there would be no victim surcharge because the compensation was more important.

But he warned of the seriousness for repeat offending.

Before leaving the courtroom Hughes said: "I am sorry for the inconvenience I have cause, I don't want to be stuck back here again."