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Bypass on box allowed man to dishonestly use over £300 worth of electricity

Defendant paying money back to NIE which has increased rate on bill

A Portadown man who stole electricity using a bypass on his box has been fined £600.

Court heard the 33-year-old told police that NIE had changed his box and he knew nothing about the stolen units.

Jonathon Falls, of Hartfield Avenue, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and dishonestly diverting electricity when he came before Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday.

It was revealed that police had been in Hartfield Avenue for an unrelated matter when they gained entry to the defendant’s home.

Officers spotted a bypass in relation to Falls’ electricity box and contacted NIE.

It was established that 2,038 units had been falsely taken by the defendant which was estimated to cost around £305.

This was subsequently added to Falls’ electricity bill for him to pay off.

When interviewed the defendant denied being involved, claiming NIE had replaced his box and that he had nothing to do with it.

Defence barrister David McKeown said this was a “series of silly decisions” and that his client “knew exactly what he was doing”.

Court heard Falls had almost paid all of the money back after NIE placed a 30% rate increase on his electricity since the incident.

Mr McKeown conceded that the defendant did have a record but commented that he had no previous for acts of dishonesty.

Falls was ordered to pay a fine of £600, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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