A ST Helens couple have both admitted dodging more than £200 in electricity bills by illegally “bridging” their pre-payment meter.
David Warburton and Gillian Bond, of Parr Stocks Road, both pleaded guilty to a single charge of abstracting electricity before St Helens Magistrates’ Court last Friday (June 17).
The court heard how police discovered that the couple’s meter had been tampered with when executing a search warrant at their address on May 30.
A Scottish Power engineer confirmed to officers that the meter had been tampered with in order to use electricity without paying for it.
It was estimated that the diversion wires had been in place for at least 85 weeks.
In interview, Bond, 33, admitted she knew that she and her partner had been breaking the law and Warburton accepted that the meter had been bridged.
Warburton, 31, added that they had only done it because of money problems “a year or so ago”.
All the money that the couple owe is set to be reclaimed by the utility company directly.
Chris Bivan, defending both Bond and Warburton, explained that both of his clients took full responsibility for the crime and that both deserved full credit for their early guilty pleas.
He added that the payments the couple had dodged, which amounted to a shade over £227, were “not particularly high” and that the couple had already had to pay Scottish Power a £300 reconnection charge.
Mr Bivan asked Magistrates to consider releasing both defendants on a conditional discharge.
Justices handed Bond an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay £85 towards prosecution costs.
Warburton is due to be sentenced on Monday, June 27, following reports.