Dad steals fuel for school run

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A former company director stole more than £500 of petrol so he could take his children to school, a court heard.

Father-of-three Gabriel Murray, 51, of Benches Lane, Marple, admitted two charges of stealing fuel when he was arrested by police this month.

The first offence took place at Townhouse service station, in Glossop, on March 6 this year, where Murray dishonestly made off with £66 of fuel.

The second offence took place at Tesco service station, in Glossop, on June 5 this year, where Murray dishonestly made off with £11.36 of fuel.

Murray pleaded guilty to both offences when he appeared at High Peak Magistrates Court on Monday.

At the hearing, Murray asked for a further 15 offences – which police had not yet detected – to be taken into consideration. Murray’s fuel thefts totalled £538.31, the court heard.

Jenifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, told the court that Murray had initially claimed he found the stolen number plates – which were used to avoid being caught – discarded in plastic bag.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “He then claimed to have heard a conversation in a pub about using fake number plates to steal petrol, and so did the same.”

Murray did go on to make full and frank admissions, the court heard.

The court heard that Murray’s offending was spread over Greater Manchester, Derbyshire and Cheshire.

James Riley, defending, said Murray had been a director of a multiplex fire protection company.

Murray had held the position for 20 years, but the company was recently put into liquidation after expereincing financial difficulties.

Mr Riley said that Murray – who, the court heard, has over £16,000 of debt and has borrowed money off friends and family – was a man of previous good character.

Mr Riley said that because Murray lives in a rural area, and needs to get his three daughters to school each day, he was “doing what he could” to ensure they weren’t affected.

He added: “[Murray], in that desperate time, resorted to this spiral of offending with the priority of getting his children to school.”

Sentencing was adjourned for reports to be prepared by the probation service.

Murray will be sentenced at High Peak Magistrates Court on 
Monday, July 7.