BUNGLING thieves were caught by police after a “hare-brained” scheme to steal diesel failed.

Andrew Burton, of Heol Kenyon, Johnstown and Mark Richards, of Monkmoor Close, Oswestry, had gone to Hafod landfill in Ruabon with the intention of siphoning diesel from vehicles.

But police were alerted and the pair, who are both 52 and went to school together, were seen leaving before being stopped nearby.

Their car smelt strongly of diesel and the pair were found to be in possession of black hats, a balaclava, blue nitrile gloves, empty fuel drums,
torches and bolt-cutters.

The car was seized by police.

Appearing before Wrexham Magistrates’ Court, both men pleaded guilty to going equipped for theft.

Alun Williams, defending, said Burton had suffered a stroke 12 months ago and had not been able to work since.

Burton is suffering from depression and due to his financial situation, decided to try what the court heard was a “stupid and hare-brained” idea to commit the offence.

Mr Williams said there was absolutely no sophistication in their plan and the site had motion sensors, which lit up like a Christmas tree when they entered.

Nothing was taken and there was no damage.

Richards had worked for several years as a driver but lost his job due to depression, Mr Williams added.

Sentencing both men to a
10-week community order with curfew to run from 9pm to 7am, district judge Gwyn Jones said: “You were tooled up to steal diesel, which is very expensive these days.

”Incidents such as this can have a very significant impact on the viability of businesses and causes a lot of hassle for them.

”I very much hope that this hare-brained idea of yours was a one-off.”

Costs of £85 and an £85 victim surcharge were also imposed.