CCTV recorded Nicholas Barnes filling his pick-up truck and a five gallon drum with diesel before his shift at Bloom Plant Hire, in East Markham, started, at 5.30am, on August 13.
Prosecutor Robert Carr said Barnes’s boss told him they would drop the matter if he paid for the fuel and he produced a cheque for £1,500, but was told the real cost was £15,000.
He was sacked for gross misconduct, and later told police he had permission to take a tank-full each month, but was warned “not to take the mickey.”
Nigel Misson, mitigating, said Barnes, who had no previous convictions, estimated dishonestly taking £4,000 of fuel over several months and was able to repay that sum.
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He said the plant fitter had a key fob that gave him access to the pumps, but struggled to separate what he took dishonestly from what he was entitled to.
“They knew he had recovered money from an industrial accident in 2015 when a pressurised fire extinguisher exploded causing irreparable head injuries,” said Mr Misson.
“He struggles to understand certain terms. There is no evidence about how much he may, or may not, have taken.
“He is more vulnerable than at any other time in his life.”
Mr Misson said no action about the unauthorised loss of diesel, which stretched back over four years, had been taken until August.
Barnes, 58, of Peel Avenue, admitted theft by employee, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Friday.
He was fined £180, and was ordered to pay £85 costs and a government surcharge of £30, as well as £4,000 compensation to the company, within 14 days.