Northern Ireland

Former soldier stole nearly £10,000 worth of fuel

Fuel pumps

An ex-soldier who stole nearly £10,000 of diesel after being made redundant has been jailed for nine months.

Belfast Crown Court heard that David Frampton, 27, left another job to work as a lorry driver for DHL Freight, but without warning he was made redundant.

The prosecution told the court that he was told to hand back his fuel card, but had kept it.

He used the card to obtain 7,611 litres of diesel on multiple occasions between 4 July and 10 August 2008.

Using CCTV footage from Nicholl Fuels on Belfast's Westbank Road, police were able to identify who had bought fuel and how much had been taken.

In interviews after his arrest Frampton, from California Close in Belfast, admitted responsibility for the fuel thefts.

He said he had been paid between £30 and £50 per full tank of fuel.

He confessed that in total, he received between £2,000 and £3,000 for his role in the series of thefts.

The prosecution said that, in addition to Frampton, many others had appeared in court charged with theft after their vehicles were identified from the CCTV footage.

Defence lawyer Paul Bacon said that Frampton had carried out the thefts to pay off gambling debts he owed to paramilitaries who would call him and order him to be there at a certain time.

The lawyer said that on one occasion, Frampton had arrived at the filling station to find a queue of up to 20 taxis waiting to be filled up with fuel.

Mr Bacon also said that former Royal Engineer Frampton, who served in Kuwait and Iraq, was discharged from the Army after he burgled the house of a lance corporal.

Handing down the jail term and a year on probation, Judge Gemma Loughran said it seemed that Frampton had used the cash to pay off debts and to "take revenge on (his) previous employer" in what she described as a "not unsophisticated series of offences".