A student who stole hundreds of pounds worth of petrol from a number of petrol stations in the West Midlands has been ordered to undertake community service.
Umair Khan of Bordesley, central Birmingham, confessed to stealing petrol in £50 to £60 amounts from several petrol stations earlier in the year.
Plain-clothed officers managed to apprehend Mr Khan whilst in the act of leaving a Sainsbury's petrol station without paying.
Solihull Police officers were acting as part of a special police operation, specifically targeting petrol thieves in the area.
Police used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to instantly identify that Mr Khan's black Ford Focus was displaying number plates registered to a blue Mercedes-Benz.
One number plate was also recovered from the back seat, with several others removed from the boot of the car.
Initially accused of 13 separate incidents of stealing fuel, totalling nearly £700, Mr Khan denied all charges.
Prosecutors dropped eight charges, with Khan pleading guilty to five accounts of theft.
In addition, Mr Khan also pleaded guilty to four charges of handling stolen number plates.
Farooq Sheikh directed Operation Kadence, a crackdown on petrol theft in the Solihull area, and stated: "Solihull has seen a significant fall in the number of fuel thefts as a result of the operation; anybody considering driving off without paying needs to be aware that, in addition to CCTV cameras, police officers may well be watching.
"People can be quite dismissive of fuel theft, believing it's largely a victimless crime.
"However, the reality is these offences are often committed by people who've stolen number plates from other cars or even stolen vehicles so offenders have a negative impact on the wider community and tend to be linked to other criminality.
"There are CCTV cameras in almost every petrol station now so offenders stand a good chance of being recognised and identified, plus of course we'll have an excellent description of their vehicle.
"It's a very risky business."
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