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Conditional discharge for man who used ‘guts of £1,000 of electricity’ by magnet fitted to meter

He was also found to have fireworks at his home and claimed he did not know a licence was required to have them

A Portadown man who dishonestly used “the guts of £1,000 of electricity” after fitting a meter with a magnet has been handed a conditional discharge.

Court also heard that during a search of the 36-year-old’s home police located a number of fireworks for which the defendant did not own a licence and for these offences he was fined.

George Neill, of Derrylettiff Road, appeared for sentencing on two counts of possessing fireworks without a licence, preventing a meter from regulating electricity supplied and dishonestly using electricity at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 25, police conducted a search of the defendant’s home address in Portadown.

During this, officers seized fireworks, namely two dum dum bangers and two solar rockets.

It was also observed by police that an electricity meter at the property had been fitted with a magnet.

During interview, Neill claimed he was not aware it was illegal to be in possession of the fireworks and did not know a licence was required to have them.

He also claimed that he had no knowledge of the magnet which had been placed on the electricity meter.

At a previous court hearing, District Judge Steven Keown had commented the defendant had dishonestly taken the “guts of £1,000 in electricity”.

Speaking on Friday, defence counsel said: “He is a full time lorry driver and has custody of his children at the weekend. He does have a previous entry on his record from 2004 when he was 19 but nothing for dishonesty.

“The amount owed has been reduced to £680, with money being deducted every time he tops up.”

Neill was ordered to pay a fine of £450, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

On the dishonesty charge he was handed a conditional discharge for two years.

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