A 26-YEAR-OLD thief drove away from a petrol station without paying while a passenger was seen laughing as they left the forecourt. 

Paul Butler, of Offerton Lane, Warndon, targeted his nearest Tesco supermarket petrol station stealing diesel before trying to shoplift from the supermarket only to be caught by plain-clothed officers.

Tom Wickstead, prosecuting, said on August 14 at 3.40pm Butler drove onto the forecourt of Tesco's petrol station in Mill Wood Drive. 

Butler put £108.84 worth of diesel into his van before making no payment and leaving.

Worcester News: THIEF: Paul Butler leaving Worcester Magistrates CourtTHIEF: Paul Butler leaving Worcester Magistrates Court (Image: Sam Greenway/Newsquest)

The prosecutor said someone in the vehicle was seen to be laughing as the van drove off. 

CCTV stills were sent to the police which identified Butler, formerly of Smith Caravan Site, Pershore.

Then, on October 18, Butler was in the supermarket on the same site and plain-clothed officers, carrying out a shoplifting operation, became aware of him carrying several items.

As he walked towards the exit, making no payment, staff stopped him with Butler claiming he had a receipt.

After undercover officers revealed themselves £107.50 worth of items were recovered and he was arrested. 

Mr Wickstead said there was "nothing particularly sophisticated" about either of the offences.

Worcester News: GARAGE: Tesco petrol stationGARAGE: Tesco petrol station

Butler, who had previous convictions for shoplifting, admitted theft from a shop and leaving without making payment. 

Mark Turnbull, defending, explained Butler committed the offences as the defendant had two young children and was short of money after construction work dried up. 

"He has no issue with alcohol or anything like that - it was simply to support his family," the solicitor said. 

Mr Turnbull stressed to magistrates the person laughing in the van had not been Butler but was his passenger. 

Worcester News: COURT: Paul Butler leaving Worcester Magistrates CourtCOURT: Paul Butler leaving Worcester Magistrates Court (Image: Sam Greenway/Newsquest)

Kevin Lloyd-Wright, chairman of the magistrates bench fined Butler £120 and ordered he pay £108.84 compensation. 

Butlers was also told to pay £185 costs and £48 victim surcharge. 

Magistrates agreed Butler could pay the £461.84 total through a deduction in his benefits. 

The case was heard at Worcester Magistrates Court on Thursday, (November 2). 

Worcester News: CASE: Butler's case was heard at Worcester Magistrates CourtCASE: Butler's case was heard at Worcester Magistrates Court During the hearing magistrates heard Butler faces other matters. 

Butler has previously admitted driving a motor vehicle dangerously; using a motor vehicle on a road/public without insurance; failing to provide specimen for analysis - vehicle driver and fail/refuse to provide a sample for Class 'A' drug test. 

Those charges relate to Butler driving a Ford Transit on Droitwich Road, Fernhill Heath on September 26. 

Butler is yet to enter a plea to the charge of driving while disqualified on the same date.

The prosecution also alleges Butler drove a Vauxhall Vectra on May 21 while disqualified and with no insurance. The defendant has not entered pleas to those charges.

Mr Wickstead told magistrates police enquiries are being made to determine if Butler had a driving licence at the time.

Magistrates adjourned the matters until November 21, with Butler being given unconditional bail.