A Lincolnshire refuse collector who stole diesel worth over £38,000 from his own bin lorry and sold some of it on the black market was given a suspended jail sentence by a judge.
Leonard Frankish, 65, of Princess Drive, Grantham, syphoned off the fuel from the truck he was driving for South Kesteven District Council over a five year period.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Frankish regularly removed diesel from his bin lorry at remote locations during his round and then dropped it off in 25 litre barrels at his home.
Hal Ewing, prosecuting, said suspicion fell on Frankish after it was noticed that the fuel consumption of his lorry dropped when he was on holiday.
Mr Ewing told the court Frankish worked on his own as both the driver and loader for a small refuse truck designed for narrow roads.
When police tried to track Frankish down during his round they noticed a wet patch on the floor where his lorry had recently been parked.
The court heard officers eventually stopped Frankish near Caythorpe Heath.
He replied “you’re joking” when told of the allegations but police found two barrels disguised with bin bags in the vehicle. Similar barrels and hoses were found at his home.
In total Frankish stole nearly 32,000 litres of diesel worth £38,715.
Mr Ewing said evidence from his phone and Facebook proved Frankish had sold on diesel worth £4,650.
During police interview Frankish admitted stealing diesel for seven or eight months, but he later pleaded guilty to a much longer theft from South Kesteven District Council between December 1, 2015 and July 4, 2020.
In mitigation the court was told Frankish would now lose his home to pay back the money and had found a new job in the construction industry.
Frankish was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told Frankish the main reason for not sending him to jail was that because he was going to lose his house.
But the Judge added: “That was your choice.”