Fuel thief admits wrongdoing

Remanded in custody awaiting judgment

A young thief who siphoned off fuel from an automated petrol pump, targeting the same service station five times over 11 days, was remanded in custody pending judgment after pleading guilty in court.

Antoine Ellul, a 23-year old unemployed youngster with a drug problem, was tracked down by the police on the strength of evidence linking him to a spate of recent thefts targeting a private residence in Sta Venera and a number of fuel thefts from a service station in Marsa.

The man was arraigned under arrest on Thursday afternoon pleading guilty to five charges of aggravated theft and another charge of attempted theft. He was further charged with committing the offences during the operative period of a suspended sentence.

The man had allegedly devised a way of siphoning off fuel from automatic petrol pumps by inserting a banknote attached to a length of tape which made it possible for the money to be retrieved once the fuel had been discharged.

The prosecution explained that the young man had an escalating drug problem, had been kicked out of his home and needed help, which meant that rehabilitation was the best solution.

The accused himself registered an admission, his legal aid counsel Simon Micallef Stafrace insisting that the young man needed help.

Upon this admission, duty magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit declared that since the accused had other proceedings pending before the same court, she was to put off judgment to a later date until the accused’s probation officer had testified as to the man’s situation.

No request for bail was made with the accused being remanded in custody.

The case continues later this month.

Inspectors Robert Vella and Elliott Magro prosecuted.