Student admits fuel theft spree

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Community service for Umair Khan

A STUDENT stole hundreds of pounds worth of fuel after driving away from garage forecourts across the West Midlands without paying.

Umair Khan, from Caldwell Road in Bordesley, admitted filling up at stations in Acocks Green, Small Heath and Shirley earlier this year but then made off without settling bills ranging between £50 and £60.

He was caught after plain-clothed officers – part of a special Solihull Police operation targeting fuel thieves – spotted a black Ford Focus he was driving bore number plates registered to a blue Mercedes-Benz.

Police bikers stopped 23-year-old Khan as he left the forecourt; they recovered another number plate on the back seat plus several more hidden in the boot.

Khan was initially accused of stealing fuel totalling almost £700 during 13 separate visits to petrol stations in Solihull and Birmingham between February and June but at court he denied all the charges.

However, prosecutors agreed to drop eight of the alleged thefts when Khan changed his plea to guilty on five of the counts.

He also admitted four charges of handling stolen number plates taken from BMW Auto Parts in Pleasant Street, West Bromwich, between March and June this year.

And at Solihull Magistrates Court Khan, who has no previous convictions, was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work, pay compensation for the stolen fuel, and also pay £200 court costs.

Solihull Police’s petrol theft crackdown codenamed Operation Kadence ran throughout July and saw 17 arrests for offences including fuel theft, stealing number plates, drugs possession plus a variety of motoring offences.

And the initiative proved a success with the number of recorded fuel theft offences across Solihull having more than halved.

Solihull Police Inspector Farooq Sheikh led Operation Kadence. He said: “Solihull has seen a significant fall in the number of fuel thefts as a result of the operation; anybody considering driving off without paying needs to be aware that, in addition to CCTV cameras, police officers may well be watching.”

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