Ex-soldier stole £300 worth of petrol from garage to ‘make ends meet’

An army veteran stole hundreds of pounds worth of fuel from a garage after his life had gone ‘downhill’.

According to Teesside Live, Liam McGirr first went to the BP garage in Stockton on April 5 last year.

The 28-year-old filled his car with £30 of petrol before going into the store to pay, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Alan Davison, prosecuting, said defendant told workers his card wasn’t working but he would come back later with cash.

He left his details with staff, however failed to return to the petrol station.

McGirr went back to the same garage almost three months later and carried out the same scam five more times over the course of July.

The prosecutor said he went back as the passenger in another vehicle, went into the garage but didn’t make any payment.

He said that happened with a number of vehicles and he took a total of £356.23 worth of fuel.

Mr Davison said it was “fair to say” that he did get out of the car and go into the shop but he didn’t come up with any payment.

McGirr, of High Newham Court, Hardwick, Stockton, pleaded guilty to six counts of making off without payment.

The charges related to offences committed on April 5, July 1, July 7, July 9, July 17 and July 19.

Nick Ayres, defending, told the court how McGirr previously served in the Army, working in logistics, and did a tour of Afghanistan.

He said: “If he had his way he would still be in the Army.

“Unfortunately he suffered an injury to his shoulder which resulted in him having an operation and being medically discharged from the Army.”

He said McGirr’s life has gone “downhill” and he has separated with his partner, but they have a good relationship for their three children and he sees them every weekend.

His solicitor said the defendant, who is of previous good character, committed the offence as he was short of funds at the time.

Mr Ayres said: “He would receive a small payment of about £10.

“He was just at the time struggling and this was a way to make ends meet.”

Chair of the Bench Michelle Matthews told McGirr: “You’re going to have a criminal record which is unfortunately going to follow you.”

She said it seemed “very unusual” for a man of previous good character and they were going to “step out of the guidelines” after taking everything into consideration.

The bench ordered the defendant to pay £356.23 in compensation to the BP garage and £85 court costs.

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