Two men caught in the act of stealing diesel fuel from a depot in Market Rasen have been jailed.
Michael Barrett and Alan Bennett travelled from Newark to the market town with 20 barrels loaded into the back of their van ready to take the fuel away.
Phil Howes, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that they broke through fence panelling at a neighbouring premises to get into the depot of Peter Rhodes.
"This was a determined attempt to steal fuel but a neighbour heard the noise and alerted police. Had they not been interrupted they would have taken the fuel," he said.
Officers arrived to find Barrett hiding behind a cardboard box. Bennett fled but was arrested later after he was found walking along a road in the Faldingworth area.
Barrett, 31, and Bennett, 35, both of Stephenson House, Mather Road, Newark, each admitted a charge of attempted theft and two charges of damaging property as a result of the incident on April 1.
Judge Michael Heath told them: "This was a deliberate expedition. You came with an
expressed intention to steal diesel and you came tooled up."
Joanne Staples, for Barrett, said her client had a drink problem but was making concerted efforts to bring it under control. She said Barrett is not currently working but helps his mother care for his older brother who has severe learning disabilities.
Sunil Khanna, for Bennett, said he had a number of problems at the time arising from the breakdown of his relationship and the loss of his job.
He described the offence as an isolated incident and said Bennett had previously stayed out of trouble for ten years.
Bennett and Barrett were each jailed for nine months.