A YOUNG woman stole registration plates to put on her own car so she could drive off from filling stations without paying for fuel, a court was told.

Rachael Marshall, 25, admitted two counts of theft from vehicles and making off without payment.

Prosecutor Lorraine Cooper said Marshall, of I’Anson Street, Darlington, stole number plates from two vehicles in the town in October and December 2013 and fixed them to her own car to steal from petrol stations.

She took £50.25 worth of fuel from the Shell garage on Woodland Road and £47.01 worth of diesel from Asda on Whinbush Way, both in Darlington.

Andrew Bostock, mitigating, said Marshall’s sister, who lives in Leeds, had given birth for the first time and asked for help as she was struggling to cope.

Marshall, who receives benefits, did not have enough money for petrol, so committed the crimes.

He added that if Marshall were to lose her driving licence it would impact on her familial responsibilities, including helping her mother who suffered from depression and taking her younger sister to school.

Darlington magistrates imposed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered Marshall to pay a total of £152.26 in compensation and costs.