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Drink driver who left without paying for petrol gets suspended sentence

The district judge said: 'He is happy to take alcohol and not work, whilst stealing from those who do work, meaning everybody else had to pick up the tab'

A Mayobridge man who drove off without paying for fuel whilst over twice the legal limit has been sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years.

Noting this was the 41-year-old’s fourth conviction for making off without payment, the district judge commented: “He is happy to take alcohol and not work, whilst stealing from those who do work, meaning everybody else had to pick up the tab.”

John Paul Fegan, of Owen Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, theft and making off without paying at Newry Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecution outlined that on June 23, at 9am, police received a report of a theft from Rockmount Service Station on the Rathfriland Road, Newry.

A male had filled up his vehicle with £25 worth of petrol and taken hot food to the value of £3, before leaving without making any effort to pay.

Details of the vehicle were provided to police and it was subsequently observed on a grass verge on the Armagh Road, Newry.

The driver, who was nearby, was subsequently identified as the defendant and a preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.

Fegan was arrested and taken to Banbridge Custody Suite, where an evidential sample of breath was obtained which gave a reading of 98mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath – over twice the legal limit.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon stated: “The problem this man has is his record. He has a difficulty with road traffic regulations, particularly those involving the consumption of alcohol.

“He is now over 40 years of age and he has still not learned his lesson. This was his sister’s car but there are no further charges relating to that and it is accepted that he was intoxicated, the reading was very high.”

Mr Lannon told court that Fegan had been attempting to find a place at a rehabilitation centre but as of yet had been unsuccessful.

District Judge Eamon King stated: “This is his fourth making off without paying. He has obviously made a lifestyle choice up to now.

“He is happy to take alcohol and not work, whilst stealing from those who do work, meaning everybody else had to pick up the tab.”

Fegan was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years and was disqualified from driving for a period of 18 months.

In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay compensation of £30 to the filling station and a fine of £250.

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