Police tracked down a Traveller who failed to pay for fuel at a Derbyshire petrol station

A petrol station fuel pump.
A petrol station fuel pump.

A motorist from the Travelling community was tracked down by police after he failed to pay for fuel at a Derbyshire petrol station.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on February 6 how Michael Ward, 31, of Owl End Walk, Yaxley, Peterborough, had visited the Co-op Petrol Station, on Chesterfield Road, Duckmanton, in Chesterfield, and claimed he did not have any money and filled in a form promising to pay later but failed to do so.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “Mr Ward fled in a vehicle with £76.61 of fuel from the Co-op Petrol service station on June 28, last year.

“He went into the store and said he didn’t have the means to pay and he completed a form to confirm he would return in seven days and make a payment but he gave a different address and there after he failed to return and pay.”

Police were looking for Ward - who is part of the Traveller community - for some time but his vehicle was stopped by North Yorkshire police, according to Mrs Allsop, and he accepted failing to pay for the fuel.

Ward claimed he had lost the form but admitted that he had made no effort to go back and settle the debt with the petrol station.

The defendant, who has previous convictions in the UK and Ireland, pleaded guilty to making off without paying.

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Defence solicitor David Gittins said: “It is a simple matter that this person did not have the means of payment and petrol stations have forms to fill in for such an eventuality.”

Mr Gittins explained that Ward comes from the Travelling community and he was given a form but he lost it and he had moved and now lives in Peterborough and he ignored the situation.

Ward also gave an accurate address, according to Mr Gittins, of a location where he had been staying at the time and he gave correct details of the vehicle.

Mr Gittins added that Ward, who is on benefits, does have difficulties with reading and writing.

Magistrates fined Ward £40 and ordered him to pay £85 costs, a £30 victim surcharge and £76.61 in compensation.