Grantham court: Resident used extension lead to steal electricity

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A 29-year-old must pay £600 in compensation after using an extension cable to take electricity from the communal area in his block of flats.

Paul Browne of Castlegate, Grantham pleaded guilty to dishonestly using electricity without due authority between July 27, 2014 and February 25, 2015, as well as admitting possession of cannabis on March 8.

Prosecutor Marie Stace described how on September 24, 2014 two members of staff attended Browne’s flat for a health and safety check, during which they noticed a cable coming out of it and connected to a plug socket in the communal landing.

Browne was warned that these sockets were to be used only by the cleaners, but the housing company then received a bill in excess of £600, which was ten times more than the usual amount.

When Browne was questioned again on February 25, he said he had been away from the flat for two months and in the meantime let someone else look after the property.

On March 8 a search was conducted of the premises and a small amount of cannabis and associated smoking paraphernalia found in a kitchen cupboard.

Defending Browne, Stuart Wild said that his client admitted using an extension lead to abstract electricity from the communal supply, while adding that for a time other people had moved into his flat.

Mr Wild explained that at the time Browne had been struggling for money while suffering from a dependency on alcohol, although he had now ‘turned himself around and now abstains from alcohol’.

Browne had since gained full-time employment and had arranged a pre-payment plan with the electricity provider. With regards to the cannabis, the court heard that this was for his own personal use and that what was discovered in the flat amounted to about half a gram valued at £5.

For the abstraction of electricity without authority, Browne must pay £600 in compensation in addition to a £60 fine, £20 victim surcharge and £85 in prosecution costs.

He also received a six month conditional discharge for possession of the class B drug, of which magistrates ordered the forfeiture and destruction.