A CROOK who by-passed his electricity meter using a metal handle could have put lives at risk, Burnley magistrates heard.

Drug addict Peter Meeks, 37, attached a loop from the meter to a cupboard at his home on Belford Street, Burnley.

It was found by a representative of G4S Utility Services, of which Meeks had been a customer for two years, but had never paid a penny.

Prosecutor Andrew Robinson told the court: “He says it was extremely dangerous and it would cause an electric shock.”

Meeks appeared before the bench exactly a week after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison by Burnley Crown Court for burglary.

The defendant admitted abstracting electricity which would have cost £1,041.31, on or between October 29, 2011 and October 21, 2013. He was fined £180, with a £20 victim surcharge but does not have to pay it and was detained in lieu.

The bench chairman told him: “You will be confined, as indeed you are, in the precincts of the court.”

She added: “What you did was dangerous and to other people, possibly.”

Mr Robinson told the court the amount of electricity used was £625 and the cost of meter repair was about £400.

Trevor Grice, for Meeks, said: “He had a very bad drug addiction and was finding it hard to make ends meet.”