Fuel thieves told a ‘pack of lies’ - judge

0
Have your say

TWO would-be fuel thieves who told a “pack of lies” in a bid to avoid conviction are set to be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court.

Vidas Andruska, 38, and Nerijua Razma, 22, both from Lincoln, were stopped by police near Wainfleet on September 22 after receiving a tip-off that the thieves were operating in the area.

The pair, one of whom owns a garage in Lincoln, had driven into the countryside in a Ford Galaxy car that was specially modified to help them carry out their crime.

Its rear seats were missing, replaced instead with several fuel drums.

The pair denied that they intended to steal diesel when they appeared for trial in Skegness Magistrates’ Court last week.

Giving evidence PC Philip Mawdsley said that acting on information received, he followed the red Ford Galaxy car along the A158 Lincoln to Skegness road eastwards towards Hagworthingham at about 8.15pm on September 22.

It turned onto the B1195 towards Spilsby and he followed it for around eight miles to near Wainfleet, where he was joined by other officers and stopped Andruska and Razma.

When he checked the car he found that the rear seats had been removed and there were four empty oil drums inside, as well as piping, a screwdriver, a map and gloves.

Andruska, who had been driving, had told the officer he was trying to find his way back to Lincoln.

But PC Mawdsley said he did not believe him as the car had been spotted on camera at Wragby only half-an-hour before the pair’s arrest and that he was now travelling in the wrong direction.

After his arrest Andruska said he had drained two mini-buses of diesel and that was what had been in the drums, although he did not explain why they were still in the car.

Razma refused to comment either at the scene or later at the police station.

In court, speaking through an interpreter, Andruska, who is Lithuanian, said he had lived in the country for three years and ran a garage at Woodstock Street in Lincoln with his brother.

He said that when he scrapped vehicles he saved the fuel in drums and gave it to a friend who drove between Lithuania and England, transporting people and goods/

He added that on September 22 he had brought the diesel out and had met the friend on a lay by on the A158 and handed the 150 litres of fuel over, which he said he had told the police on the night.

However, when the tape of his police interview was played to the court he was not heard to say this.

He said he had not been in the area before and had got lost trying to get back to Lincoln.

Judge Jackson said the evidence given by Andruska and Razma was a “pack of lies” and that both men had had ample opportunity to explain what they had been doing.

“You were out there that night with the intent to steal diesel,” he said.

Remanding both men in custody to await sentence at the Crown Court, he said the offence bore “professional hallmarks”.