Bus driver admits £9k fuel theft

North Somerset Courthouse.

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Archant

A BUS driver stole thousands of pounds of fuel from Bakers Dolphin over a three-year period, a court has been told.

Edward Hale, aged 67, was fired by the Weston-based coach firm after 38 years service once the theft was discovered in April.

Michael Collins, prosecuting, told magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse on Monday that Hale had prompted suspicion by turning up to work regularly 30 minutes before he was due to start at 5.30am.

He would fill jerry cans with diesel before driving them back in his bus to his Morland Road home in Highbridge. Having dropped them off, he would then start working and his criminal activity was not spotted because the early start meant he was never late.

He was caught after the firm installed extra CCTV cameras to his vehicle and checked vehicle logging records.

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Upon arrest, Hale admitted taking an estimated £9,000 worth of diesel.

Anjam Arif, defending, said Hale only used the fuel for his own car to get him to work and he had not taken as much as was claimed.

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The court was told the pensioner had suffered financial hardship since a hip operation forced him to give up work for a time seven years ago.

Mr Arif said: “Mr Hale was a man of previous good character. He is extremely ashamed for doing all this.

“He offered a genuine apology and repayment with reduction of his wages.”

Bakers Dolphin, however, sacked Hale once he admitted one charge of theft in court.

Hale was handed a four-month 16-hour curfew and ordered to pay back £4,500.

He must also pay a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

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