A THIEF who decided to capitalise on the soaring price of diesel by stealing it from parked trucks was caught when his DNA was found on siphoning equipment.

Burnley Magistrates heard how young dad Carl Anthony Little, 26, thought he could make a living by stealing diesel and then selling it on.

But his money-making scheme came to an end when he was caught by DNA evidence and magistrates imposed a three-month night-time curfew.

The court was told that Little struck six times in a few days, helping himself to diesel worth at least £2,000.

He was arrested after disturbing a lorry driver as he tried to siphon diesel from a HGV on North Valley Road, Colne.

Little fled from the scene but left behind the siphoning equipment, which contained his DNA and enabled police to identify him.

The defendant, of New Market Street, Colne, admitted theft from a vehicle on June 10 and asked for five similar offences to be considered.

Little, who has an extensive criminal record and was already on a community order, was given a three month curfew, seven days a week, between 7pm and 7am. He must also pay £65 costs.

Barbara Webster, prosecuting, told the court at 1.30am a lorry driver was asleep on a retail park when he heard noises.

The defendant made off leaving the siphoning equipment and forensic tests proved Little was the culprit. He was arrested, admitted the crime and held up his hand to five more thefts from vehicles.

He had also targeted a lorry from Bulgaria, two more vehicles on North Valley Road and two in Barnoldswick, stealing fuel worth almost £2,000.

Dylan Bradshaw, defending, said Little had been working until May, provided limited financial assistance to his former girlfriend and child, but was sacked.

He had associates within the criminal fraternity and it was suggested one way of making money quite quickly was to steal diesel.

The defendant decided to try his hand at it and "quite quickly and quite spectacularly came unstuck.".

Mr Bradshaw added: "I have advised him it was a rather idiotic idea as you can't make a living without any risks or repercussions."

The solicitor said one of the risks was possible physical injury at the hands of robust lorry drivers and another was getting arrested.

Mr Bradsahw said the court could rule out the possibility of custody. Littlen had committed the offences out of financial desperation combined with naivety and immaturity.

Mr Bradshaw added: "This was a temporary misguided period on his life.He thought he could make a few pounds by stealing other people's diesel. Clearly that was not the case."