Generation Travel diesel thieves jailed

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A gang of professional criminals who stole thousands of litres of diesel from North East of England-based Generation Travel have been jailed.

Teesside Crown Court heard on June 17 how the crime spree had a “heartbreaking” effect on the small business, leading to a bus breaking down. The family-run coach firm depot in Stokesley Business Park, south of Middlesborough, was attacked with six burglaries or thefts last October and November.

According to Gazette Live, Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said 2,650 litres of diesel worth £3,000 were siphoned with hoses, fuel caps were snapped off and fences damaged.

The company, which had nine coaches, had to stop leaving fuel in vehicles overnight and had to pay for extra security and for employees to stay at the compound.

The thefts had a “significant impact” as vehicles ran out of fuel and the owners struggled to sleep, the court was told.

Two 20-year-old men admitted stealing the diesel – Liam Harper pleaded guilty to three thefts, Kieran Foster two. Foster’s brother Craig, 24, was caught with 15 25-litre drums of diesel in his back garden shed. He admitted handling stolen goods. All three had previous convictions for similar crimes.

Judge Sean Morris said the trio involved in the diesel enterprise were “part of a criminal team that deliberately targeted a small and well-respected family firm” whose owner worked hard and paid tax.

“Tax that pays for your representation here today,” he told the young men in the dock.

“Tax that could be better spent on hospitals and schools rather than representing the likes of you.”

He said the thefts caused a “substantial loss” in money, inconvenience, time and reputation.

He jailed Kieran Foster for 23 months, Craig Foster and Harper 14 months each.

Criticising the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the judge said the men should have been charged with conspiracy to steal, and demanded a written explanation from a senior prosecutor as to why the case was “undercharged”. “It happens time and time again with the CPS,” he added.