A JAGUAR driver told police he had stolen petrol because he was “jobless and skint” after he was arrested for being over the alcohol limit while behind the wheel.

Colin Meadows drove the classic car into the Shell in London Road, Marks Tey, in June and filled it with £78.81 worth of fuel.

He then left without paying or leaving any details.

Meadows, 57, repeated the scam a fortnight later at the Pump Hill petrol station in St Osyth - this time filling up with £71.23 but making no attempt to pay.

Both thefts were reported to the police who placed a marker on their system in relation to the Jaguar.

Meadows was stopped in Queen Street, Colchester, at 9pm just three days later when police noticed a broken brake light.

Checks then showed it was the car involved in the two thefts.

As Meadows’ smelt of booze, the officers breathalysed him.

He had 57mcgs of alcohol per 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Meadows told police he had no money which is why he did not pay for the petrol and was desperate to drive his car in a bid to find more work.

He blamed the alcohol reading on having two pints of beer several hours earlier which he did not realise would remain in his system.

But further checks showed that Meadows actually did not have a valid licence because he had not been signed back with a doctor following a previous revocation.

This also meant his insurance was invalid.

Meadows, of Granville Road, Colchester, admitted two counts of making off without payment, drink driving, driving without a valid licence and driving without insurance at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

James O’Toole, mitigating said Meadows had now found employment for Network Rail.

“He has asked me to issue an unequivocal apology - there is excuse,” he said.

“He was in extreme financial difficulty and out of work for some time.

“He was living in and out of his vehicle while trying to find work.”

Magistrates banned him from driving for 14 months and issued a fine of £596.

Meadows must also pay £85 cots, a £59 victim surcharge and pay compensation to the two garages for the amount of fuel he stole.

His total bill is £890.04.