Man jailed for stealing heating oil from primary school

Oil theft.
Oil theft.

A 39-year-old Coleraine man who was part of a four-strong gang who stole home heating oil from a primary school was jailed on Friday for four months.

Kenny Grissam, from Ballysally Road, admitted stealing the home heating oil from Garvagh Primary School in March 2013.

Grissam was due to appear at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, last week along with three co-accused - two of whom were jailed while a third was given a suspended sentence.

Following his failure to appear for last Friday’s sentencing, Judge Gordon Kerr QC issued a warrant for Grissam’s arrest.

A defence barrister told Friday’s hearing that Grissam handed himself in to police on Sunday (January 11). He also described the theft of the home heating oil as “amateurish in the extreme” and said his client was a man “dependant on alcohol”.

During a previous hearing, the court was told that in the early hours of March 12, 2013 police received a report of suspicious activity in the area of the oil tank at Garvagh Primary School. A blue Renault Scenic was seen in the area, and a short time later the vehicle came to the attention of police as it was -4 degrees and all the windows were open.

The car was stopped and police noticed a strong smell of heating oil. The four occupants - including Grissam - were arrested and when the car was searched a number of items were found on the driver’s side. These items included a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a wrench.

When the oil tank was examined by police, they discovered it had been damaged. Also found at the scene was the tip of a latex glove, which when analysed was found to bear Grissam’s DNA.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC said: “Whilst the amount involved in this case may not be the highest value, the theft of public property could have the potential to inconvenience children being education in the school.”