Fuel Security News
Fri, July 24, 2015 - 12:02:00
In May 2014, St Clare Hospice in Harlow was targeted by a heartless fuel thief, who stole over £1000 worth of heating fuel from their onsite tank. The hospice, which provides specialist care for people with terminal illnesses, was left with no heating or running water after the theft.
Three weeks after the incident took place, Essex Police released a CCTV image of a man they were looking for in connection with the theft, and with thanks to media coverage, a man was later arrested and charged.
This week, following a three day trial, 22 year old Jake Seaton, of Barn Mead in Harlow was sentenced to 21 months in jail, despite pleading not guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court in March.
Investigating Officer PC Mark Smith said: “Seaton had denied this heartless crime and showed no remorse for his actions.
“Upon summing up, the judge remarked how it was despicable to steal from a charity which cares for people with terminal illnesses.
“I am pleased that justice has been done in this case.”
Chief executive of the hospice, Tanya Curry, said the hospice was ‘shocked and saddened’ that somebody would even think of targeting a small local charity such as themselves. Tanya also revealed that the charity had been forced to step up security following the theft, with the facilities team working ‘tirelessly’.
She said: “At the time, our facilities team worked tirelessly to ensure that the impact of the theft was minimised, with an alternative heating source arranged for our Inpatient Unit whilst awaiting the delivery of replacement oil. We also increased our security even further following the incident.”
She continued: “All this takes time and money. Our services are free at the point of delivery, but we only receive limited NHS funding, so the vast majority of the £3.2 million we need to provide our care we have to raise ourselves. It is a relief to know that justice has been done and the serious nature of the incident recognised.”