Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
A man used cotton buds to stop the ESB meter running at his house in Carrick-on-Shannon with an estimated €1,793 in revenue lost to the company.
Anthony Stokes, 1 Ard Alainn, Summerhill, Carrick-on-Shannon was convicted and fined €300 at the local District Court for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent unlawful interference with ESB property at his address on May 5, 2017.
Catherine Walsh from ESB said the Revenue Protection department discovered the interference on the foot of intelligence received.
“Two holes were found drilled into the ESB meter and a cotton bud was inserted into the holes to stop the meter,” she explained.
Ms Walsh said drilling into a live meter could result in “fire or a fatality.” She said inserting a bud into the meter was “putting someone’s life at risk.”
The electricity company estimated about €1,793 was lost in revenue. That money was paid in full by Mr Stokes.
The ESB also replaced the meter and sent an invoice to the defendant for €200, which was not paid.
Mr Stokes, who pleaded guilty to the offence, said he had requested a payment plan to allow him to pay back €200.
Judge Kevin Kilrane asked him why three years on he had not paid the invoice or attended the meeting called by the ESB.
Mr Stokes said he “ignored the letter” but he paid the estimate of loss and is willing to pay for the meter.
In the end, Mr Stokes said he would pay €200 in court “to get it over and done with.”
When asked if he had drilled the holes himself, the defendant said, “A fellow done it for me, I didn’t do it.” He added, “He told me how to fiddle it.”
Judge Kilrane said this case was a serious matter and someone’s life could have been in danger. He ruled as stated.