Court gives last chance to woman who stole fuel

Burnley magistrates court convicted a 40-year-old woman of stealing fuel from a petrol station,
Burnley magistrates court convicted a 40-year-old woman of stealing fuel from a petrol station,

A woman who failed to turn up to court for a trial and flouted a community order meant to help her was told she was in " the last chance saloon."

Burnley magistrates heard how Nicola Stuart (40) had been convicted in her absence of stealing fuel worth £14. She had also failed to comply with a 12-month order, which included a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The hearing was told Stuart, formerly of Smith Street, Nelson, but now of no fixed address, had taken the fuel with a male accomplice.

They had a Jerrycan with them and filled it up at a service station. The defendant claimed she wasn't aware her co-accused was going to take it.

Stuart admitted failing to surrender. The bench revoked the previous order and gave her a 12-month community order, with a 20- day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The chairwoman told her: "You have been there, but you haven't got the t-shirt yet. This is the last chance saloon."

She added:"I think you need to understand that the authorities are trying to help you and you just throw it back in their faces and get yourself into more and more trouble.

"But we will try again."

Mr Nick Dearing, defending, said Stuart had no history of dishonesty, but the man she had bee taking the fuel with had a " huge" record for dishonesty. She was no longer in a relationship.

The solicitor said Stuart had two children with a violent partner, her life started to spiral out of control and she began to take amphetamines. He said:"She doesn't know where she will be from from one day to the next.

"It's a tragic state of affairs."

The defendant was fined £20 and must pay an £85 victim surcharge.