Judge warns of dangers of bypassing meters

A judge has said it is “foolish” and “dangerous” to bypass electric meters.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 43-year-old Mary Teresa Stokes appeared at the local magistrates court.

Stokes, of Cornshell Fields, pleaded guilty to dishonestly using electricity and dishonestly causing electricity to be diverted on November 13, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that when Power NI attended the address the meter box had scorch marks on it and was in a “dangerous state”.

Staff had to safely remove the meter, which had been bypassed and there was a loss of over £900 to the electric company.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle told the court his client has repaid £500 of the amount owed.

Fining Stokes £500 District Judge Barney McElholm said she could have burned her house down with her family inside. He warned her that if she appeared in court agaoin for a similar offence she would receive a custodial sentence.