A SOLDIER who ran off without paying for a taxi was caught months later through fingerprints he left on a discarded pizza box.

Joshua Victor MacInnes, 21, of Garth Road, Garth, got a taxi from JJ Cars in Wrexham town centre to Oakfield Close in his home village with two friends in the early hours of January 9, 2009.

The trio ran off when asked to pay the fare by the driver, who also claimed one of the three – not necessarily the defendant – racially abused and pushed him.

As he fled the scene MacInnes, a serving soldier in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, dropped a box from which he had been eating a pizza, and fingerprints were subsequently lifted after dusting by police.

Although there were no matches at the time, MacInnes was arrested and cautioned for a public order offence in August, 2009, and when run through the system his prints were found to match those on the pizza box.

He was arrested and interviewed by police more than a year after the original offence and yesterday he admitted not paying the £15.60 fare when he appeared at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court .

Matthew Ellis, prosecuting said: “The pizza box was recovered by North Wales Police and sent to the fingerprint department, with one print being identified.

“The defendant was arrested in August 2009, his fingerprints were taken and came back positive from the pizza box.”

When interviewed more than a year on from the initial incident, MacInnes said he had no recollection of events from the night but did not deny it happened.

John Gittins, defending said: “To say Joshua is ashamed is an understatement.

“This incident would have taken place shortly before he was due to return to Germany and he drank more than he would usually.

“He offers an unreserved apology to the taxi driver for the distress caused.”
Magistrates’ chairman Ted George fined MacInnes £340 and also ordered him to pay compensation of £15.60 to JJ Cars for the taxi fare and additional costs of £100.