A 34-year-old man continued to drive a work van despite his employment ending – but the company was only alerted to the theft when he filled up the vehicle with fuel and left without paying.

Kristopher Geals, of Kilwinning’s Cambisdoon Place, appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week from custody and pled guilty to three charges. His pleas of not guilty to two other charges were accepted by the prosecutor.

The court heard that Geals had been employed by a firm which provided him with a work van, when his contract with the company came to an end. He was aware that since his employment terminated he should have returned the van but he continued to use it.

The firm had not realised there was an issue and he continued to drive and use the van. The employer only became aware that the van was stolen by Geals when he used it during a theft of fuel.

On May 25, Geals took the van to the Jet Filling Station in Stevenston and filled it with a quantity of fuel. He told the teller that he didn’t have the funds and that he would return later to pay for it, but never did.

The court heard that the loss to the petrol station was £72.

Geals was charged with theft of the van on June 24. The van is now back with the previous employer.

Defending Geals, solicitor Mr Glencross said: “He’s in custody in relation to a petition matter where bail was refused. Matters are ongoing in relation to that.

“It’s a situation where I don’t think he’s had a jail sentence. He’s over 21 but he hasn’t been in jail.”

Sheriff Iona McDonald deferred sentence until November 7.