A SOUTHAMPTON man has escaped jail for stealing electricity from a meter that had been tampered with.

James Henderson, 52, abstracted electricity from a Southern Electric (SSE) meter at his former home in Bevois Valley Road, Southampton, between December 2012 and June 2013.

The court heard Henderson, now of no fixed abode, was convicted in his absence in December at magistrates’ court, although he subsequently claimed he did not fiddle the box.

SSE calculated the cost of fixing the meter and the loss in income came to £436.

The court also heard Henderson had been complying with a drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) and had passed his last four drugs tests.

At Southampton Crown Court Judge Peter Henry QC handed him a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and a 12-month supervision requirement.

His drug rehabilitation requirement was also extended by six months