Belfast Telegraph

Belfast bricklayer lost his job over plot to steal home heating oil

By Alan Erwin

A bricklayer who lost his job over plotting to steal home heating oil may go to Australia in search of work, a court heard today.

Gareth Long's lawyer revealed his plans as he was put on probation for a "spur of the moment" plan to take fuel from two houses in southeast Belfast.

The 25-year-old, of Knock Eden Parade in the Rosetta area of the city, pleaded guilty to going equipped for theft.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was arrested after police were called to the scene at Mount Merrion Crescent on July 10.

He had with him oil tanks and a length of hose, according to the charge against him.

During the sentencing hearing a defence solicitor said Long has paid the "ultimate price" of being dismissed by his employer due to the offence.

"It was a spur of the moment thought that he could take the home heating oil," the lawyer said.

Long had experienced second thoughts by the time police arrived, the court heard.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told he is now considering applying for a visa to go to Australia as there is bricklaying work available there.

Imposing a 12-month probation order, she said the sentence was based on his early guilty plea and lack of any criminal record.

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