Hard-up Hartlepool man fiddled electricity meter

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A man was caught fiddling his electricity meter after a relation of his former partner called the police.

Stephen Leighton was living with a woman when he bypassed the key meter in their home, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“Police called at the address after receiving information,” said Sean Ell, prosecuting.

“They found the meter had been tampered with, so called nPower to make it safe.

“The company calculated their loss of revenue to be £908.”

Leighton, 28, of Elliott Street, Hartlepool, admitted abstracting electricity in April, this year.

John Relton, defending, said in mitigation: “The couple were together at the time of this offence, and were short of money.

“Mr Leighton tampered with the key meter to help them make ends meet.

“We understand that it was a relative of hers who called the police.”

Mr Relton told the court it would be unfair to order his client to pay full compensation.

“The benefit of this offending was clearly to both of them,” Mr Relton added.

“Yet Mr Leighton is the only person charged, even though she could have been.

“They are no longer together, which means he has no way of obtaining any money from her.

“It would seem unfair for him to be ordered to pay the full amount back to nPower.”

The magistrates ordered Leighton to pay half of the loss of revenue to nPower, plus £180 criminal court charge, making a total of £634.

The money will be paid at £10 a week.