Lamppost electricity thief gets suspended sentence, ordered to pay compensation

The 66 year-old has connected his electricity system to the street lamp's, in an attempt to shirk electricity bills

A man who powered his home using electricity stolen from a nearby street light has been sentenced to one and a half years in prison suspended for two years. 66-year old Anthony Desira from Delimara had been accused of stealing over €10,000 worth of electricity from Enemalta in 2013 and the preceding years.

Police had started investigating Desira in February 2013 after they received an anonymous tip off which alleged that Desira’s home Delimara had no electricity meter, but was still illuminated at light, using electricity connected to a nearby street light’s power supply.

But it took the police until April to inspect the man’s home, after another report was filed. Desira claimed to have used photovoltaic panels to power his home, but officers found the panels to be unserviceable and disconnected, together with a wall partition hiding a switch linking the upper floors to the street lamp.

Desira admitted to having connected his electricity system to the street lamp’s, but insisted that he initially done this as a stopgap measure when his solar panel inverter was being repaired. At the time of the second inspection, he said that he had re-connected the electricity supply just in case the authorities decided to switch off his electricity supply.

Presiding Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech was critical of the fact that the premises had been first inspected a full six weeks after the anonymous report was lodged with the police, as well as the fact that they had failed to establish the amount of electricity stolen, instead presenting the court with an estimate.

Although the court did not believe Desira’s claim, it observed that the failure to establish how much electricity was stolen, saying it could not condemn Desira based solely on an estimate given by Enemalta. It could only be certain of the amount allegedly stolen after the police were informed - February 2013 and calculated the stolen amount to be €430.

The court ordered the man to pay Enemalta €709 by way of compensation, in addition to the suspended sentence.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared parte civile in the proceedings on behalf of Enemalta.

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