A Senior garda in Mayo has warned people who are caught with stolen fuel in their vehicles that prosecutors will be seeking stiff sentences, including driving disqualifications. Superintendent Joe Doherty also indicated that fuel theft was rife in Mayo.
Superintendent Joe Doherty was speaking at last week’s sitting of Ballina District Court where two young men were convicted of stealing diesel from trucks when they were caught with three five-gallon drums in their vehicle.
Supt Doherty said the theft of fuel was a ‘mean type of crime’ which was ‘prevalent’ in Mayo and told the court that in the future he will be asking for disqualifications for people involved. However, he explained that because the two defendants had met the case ‘fair and square’ he would not be asking for a disqualification in this case.
Shane Maughan (21) of 4 Culgara, Teeling Street, Ballina, and David Moyles (22) of 37 The Hawthorns, Killala Road, Ballina, both appeared before the court charged with stealing €90 worth of diesel from trucks parked in Davy’s Tool and Hire on the Behy Road, Ballina, on January 25 last. The incident took place at 2.55am. The Gardaí were notified of suspicious activity in the area.
The two men were stopped by gardaí as they were driving away, and discovered three five-gallon drums filled with diesel were discovered along with siphoning pump in the boot. Both men were arrested and admitted taking the diesel from the vehicles.
The court was told Mr Maughan has a previous conviction for trespassing in 2011, while Mr Moyles has one traffic conviction.
Mr John Gordan, solicitor for the two defendants, said his clients had planned the event but not very well and said it was stupid thing to do. He explained they both accepted that they stole the diesel to sell for cash but added they were genuinely upset about what happened. He told Judge Mary Devins that he believed they would not come before the court again and asked to her to be lenient.
Judge Devins fined Mr Moyles €150, but because Mr Maughan had a trespass conviction she imposed a community service sentence of 100 hours in lieu of three months’ imprisonment and fined him €250.