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Paul Hagerty, of Northwood Road, Whitstable, sold stolen diesel cheap to friends

By Paul Hooper

A Whitstable driver took his bosses for a ride and fleeced them out of nearly £7,000 of fuel - which he sold to his mates at cut-down prices.

Paul Hagerty, 49, was employed by a company that provided vehicles to transport patients to and from hospitals.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how he was given a fuel card by his bosses which enabled him to pay for diesel from service stations.

Hagerty sold cheap fuel to his friends. Library picture

Hagerty sold cheap fuel to his friends. Library picture

But between January and April this year Hagerty, of Northwood Road, used the card to buy nearly 7,000 litres of fuel – at a cost of £9,200.

Dale Sullivan, prosecuting said that the devious driver used the opportunities to fill plastic containers which he then sold to his friends at below-pump prices.

He said: “While it is accepted that some of the diesel was for genuine use in the course of his job it is estimated he stole £6.873 worth of diesel during that period. What he did was a clear breach of trust.”

Mr Sullivan told the court that Hagerty made full admissions after being arrested by police.

Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl

Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl

The driver told officers he had sold the fuel to friends and used the money to buy food and alcohol.

Andrew Espley, defending, said Hagerty had been employed on a zero-hours contract and had used the money for groceries.

The barrister said the booze had been bought for Hagerty’s wife who was an alcoholic.

“He had gone bankrupt in 2008 and the family home had been repossessed. After that the family had been forced to move into rented accommodation and he had also suffered from health issues.”

Mr Espley said the court hearing had had “a catastrophic effect” on Mrs Hagerty as she battles her addiction.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

He added: “He is willing to pay compensation however his income now just covers the family’s rent  and he has little in the way of means to do so.”

Hagerty, who now works as a butcher, was ordered to do 170 hours of unpaid work for the community. No order was made about compensation.

Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl told him: “There is always an element of trust in relation to an employee though this was not at a high level in this case.

“It seems that you are not able to pay compensation at this stage but it maybe that the company will sue you privately.”

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