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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Carlisle criminal 'probably embarrassed' at arrest for modest offence - judge

One of Carlisle’s best known criminals is back on the streets after suffering the “embarrassment” of being convicted of going out on an expedition to steal diesel.

Related: Carlisle criminal brothers convicted of fuel theft plot

A judge at Carlisle Crown Court told Aaron Giacopazzi that – after serving many years in prison for such major crimes as drug dealing, misuse of firearms and attempted robbery of a Securicor depot – he would find his street cred had been dealt a blow by his involvement in such a relatively modest offence.

“With your record you were probably embarrassed at being arrested for this,” Judge Paul Batty QC told the 46-year-old. “Your street credibility is significantly reduced now.”

Giacopazzi and his brother Justin, 42, were found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court on Thursday of going equipped for theft.

And yesterday they were both given suspended prison sentences.

The brothers, who both live in Raffles Avenue, Carlisle, were given 12-month prison terms, suspended for two years, put under curfews to keep them indoors at home every night for the next five months and ordered to pay £1,000 each in court costs.

Aaron Giacopazzi, whose criminal record was much worse than his brother’s and whom the judge described as the “leading light” in the botched diesel thieving expedition, was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

A third man, Christopher Mahoney, 27, whom the judge described as “very much a foot soldier at the beck and call of the Giacopazzi brothers”, was convicted of the same offence.

On Thursday he was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for a year. He was also ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work and put under a night-time curfew curfew at his home in Harris Crescent, Harraby, for the next four months.

During the trial this week the jury heard how the men were stopped by police late one night last July after a member of the public became suspicious of their car being near industrial buildings near Longtown.

Police found that the Renault Megane they were in had been modified, with its back seats removed.

Mahoney was sitting on a plastic sheet in the back. Beneath it, police found a hand pump with tubing attached, a screwdriver, spade and two pairs of gloves. The gloves and tubing smelled strongly of diesel, the court heard.

Three plastic containers were also found near the scene, behind Monkhouse’s transport yard at Sandysyke, and two 50 litre drums of diesel were found at a house in Brookside, Raffles, to which Justin Giacopazzi had a key.

At the home of Aaron Giacopazzi’s girlfriend, in Hillcrest Close, off London Road, Carlisle, police found an empty white 50-litre drum, similar to the one at Brookside, with diesel residue inside it.

The three men all pleaded not guilty.

After the verdicts the court heard that diesel thefts were a major problem in north Cumbria, particularly for remote farms and other businesses.

Since March 1 last year a total of 93 such thefts had been reported in the area, accounting for £55,000-worth of diesel.

And on Thursday – the day the Giacopazzi gang were convicted – another three were reported to police.

Judge Batty said the sentences imposed on the three men were calculated to deter other criminals from targeting fuel stores.


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