Drive-off petrol thieves ‘will lose licences’

Petrol drive-off thieves could expect to lose their driver’s licences, a Christchurch judge said as he jailed a repeat offender.

Metua Aberahama did eight drive-offs from May to August last year, with losses amounting to $913.

The 43-year-old truck driver had false number plates on his car when he did the thefts, all from various Z Energy petrol stations.

The police described it in court as “calculated, premeditated offending”.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders told Aberahama today: “This sentencing will send a clear message to those who use vehicles to do this, that you are going to lose your right to drive.”

Aberhama was jailed for a total of 19 months for the drive-off thefts, breaching a protection order, and intimidation by sending threatening texts to a woman. He had pleaded guilty and has been in custody since December after being arrested for continuing to offend while on bail.

Judge Saunders also disqualified him from driving for four months. He will be in prison for all of the term of disqualification but it will have some effect. It will limit the work he is allowed to do in prison. He will not be allowed to drive farm machinery on the prison farm.

Defence counsel Todd Nicholls urged the judge to impose release conditions that would enable Aberahama to get the help he needed. He said he had committed the petrol thefts “because of a lack of money – he accepts it was wrong”.

The judge said Aberahama had an extensive history of offending. He had shown no remorse and had a sense of entitlement. He was assessed as a high risk of reoffending.

His offending on bail showed that he had “thumbed his nose” at the protection order that the court had issued.

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