A MAN who was living in his vehicle resorted to taking fuel without paying for it out of "desperation," a court heard.

William Edwards, of Brynhyfryd in Johnstown, appeared for sentence at Wrexham Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old had previously admitted three offences of making off without payment and one of possessing a bladed article in public.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson told the court that on February 20 this year, Edwards attended Esso petrol station in Ruabon and filled his vehicle with £61.90 worth of fuel.

He then drove immediately away without paying.

Two days later, he went to Tan Y Clawdd Garage in Johnstown and did the same thing - this time taking £66 worth of fuel.

And three days after that, the offence was repeated back at the Esso site, for £62.60 worth of fuel.

The defendant was stopped by police on March 5.

Inside the glove box of his vehicle, police found a kitchen knife with a four to five inch blade.


When he was interviewed, he admitted the blade was his and made no excuses for having it in the vehicle.

He explained he'd taken the fuel as he needed it but didn't have any money.

A probation officer told the court: "He accepted full responsibility for his behaviour and was at a difficult period in his life.

"He said he'd fallen out with his father and was living in his car.

"He went to get petrol to keep his car warm and felt he had no option but to take it out of desperation.

"He made an impulsive decision and knew it was wrong.

"Regarding the knife, he said he originally used it to get between cracks when cleaning his car - he takes pride in keeping it in top condition."

Alex MacKenzie commended a suggestion by the probation report that her client could benefit from a community order.

In limited submissions to the court, she said: "It's a very sensible suggestion.

The Leader:

"The knife was something he had in the car and was using it to clean - it was not there for any adverse purpose whatsoever."

The defendant received a 12 month community order and must complete 10 days of rehabilitation activity and pay £190.50 compensation.

He must also pay £350 costs and a £114 victim surcharge.