Farm labourer stole heating oil from neighbour


A farm labourer who stole heating oil from his elderly neighbour has been fined £250.

Also ordering 28-year-old Stephen Weir to pay a £15 offender levy, district judge Paul Copeland told the thief on Thursday he was unconvinced of his claim it was a drunken dare.

Banbridge Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Newry, heard the lady’s daughter called police on July 5 last year when she spotted four oil drums, one of them filled, and a hose coming from her Mum’s oil tank in the back garden of her home at Primrose Gardens in Banbridge.

The court heard that police seized the hose and when tested for DNA, it revealed a profile matching Weir’s.

It had been left there when he siphoned oil from the lady’s tank by creating a vacuum with his mouth.

Weir, who lives two doors away, admitted trying to steal the oil but said he was drinking with a friend who dared him to do it “as a prank”.

Weir’s solicitor said his client was “suitably embarrassed” and remorseful.

The judge said it had been a “particularly mean spirited offence” given the lady’s age.