Derry mother bypassed meter for free electricity

A woman who admitted bypassing her meter to get free electricity has been given a conditional discharge by the judge at Londonderry magistrates court.

NI Electricity employees found the bypass system in Deborah McConway's Drumleck Drive home in July.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client installed the device in December.

He also disputed NIE's estimation of £2,375 in lost revenue. "I don't think she was lighting up the Brandywell."

"There are people around who know how to do these things and who make themselves known to vulnerable people.

"This is what happened here and my client succumbed to temptation."

District Judge Barney McElholm said the figure quoted by NIE was "extraordinarily high".

He imposed a conditional discharge for two years and said he would make no order in relation to the £2,375.

Tom Doran, the metering manager with NIE, said any interference with their equipment is illegal and extremely dangerous.

"An electricity meter is a live piece of equipment and interfering with it puts individuals and their property at risk.

"NIE carries out ongoing checks for unauthorised connections across Northern Ireland, and these checks identify individuals who bypass their electricity meter."