Three thieves have been fined after targeting a Wetherspoons pub in Swindon.

Drumcho Nikolaev, Ivo Ganchev and Petar Petrov of Chaffinch Close, Enfield stole £200 worth of used cooking oil from the Dockle Farmhouse in east Swindon.

All three pleaded guilty to theft at Swindon Magistrates' Court on the morning of May 20.

They claimed they did not know they were committing a crime and Ganchev and Nikolkaev said they thought the oil would be “easy money”.

Petrov appeared alone in the dock and Ganchev and Nikolaev appeared together afterwards. All three pleaded guilty.

Keith Ballinger represented the prosecution in both hearings, with an interpreter translating into Bulgarian for the defendants.

He said: “Police received a report about three males who have gone to The Dockle Farmhouse pub and whilst there they have stolen a quantity of used cooking oil.

“Three males were seen receiving containers of cooking oil, filling their own drums in their vehicle before leaving the car park.

“Police have stopped the vehicle following that report.”

Petrov, a professional driver, had hired the van and was found with the other two. Police discovered a significant amount of oil.

All three were arrested and taken to custody, where all three spent more than 48 hours.

The pub estimated that £200 worth of oil was taken, which could not be recovered due to it being mixed with other oil by the men.

Gordon Hotson, defending Petrov, explained he had been in the UK for two months “trying to make his way” by collecting used cooking oil.

He said: “He now appreciates that even if it’s waste oil it’s not something he can take and he can’t simply help himself to it.”

Harriet Heard defended Ganchev and Nikolaev. 

She said: “When they initially agreed to get into the van they were not aware they were going to steal the oil.

“They were attracted by the promise of easy money of £60. They have never done anything like this before and will not do it again.”

While Petrov has no previous convictions, Ganchev and Nikolaev do for driving-related offences.

They each were ordered to pay £66.66 to The Dockle Farmhouse in compensation. They were ordered to pay costs or surcharges due to time spent in custody.

The magistrate said: “You are starting to become familiar with the courts in this country and that needs to stop.”

Ganchev said: “Thank you very much.”