A LANDLORD who provided his tenants with thousands of pounds worth of free electricity by stealing it from an energy company has been jailed for nine months.

Harish Parmar, 50, of Alexandra Road, pleaded guilty to fraud after police discovered 22 of his properties had illegal electricity meters.

The electricity was siphoned off over a six-year period at a cost of £91,838 to EDF Energy.

Parmar was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court, in Lordship Lane, on Friday and ordered to reimburse EDF in full.

The divorced father-of-two was able to make the lump sum payment from £118,000 in cash savings found by police in his house.

He was saved from a longer sentence of up to five years because he has no previous convictions and derived no financial gain from the crime, having passed all the savings onto his tenants.

He is also the sole carer for his 73-year-old mother, who he lives with and who relies on him for her medication.

Sentencing, Judge R Morrison said: “While you did not derive gain from this, you would have known as a man of business the loss this would have caused to the provider.

“But there is very considerable mitigation to take into account. One of the consequences of your actions will be the effect it has on your family, which is a matter of great regret.”

The court heard that police first visited a flat in Cobham Road, Wood Green, with an engineer from EDF Energy and bailiffs to assist with the eviction of a tenant on February 5, 2008.

While at the premises the engineer, who was there to cut off the electricity supply, noticed illegal fittings that were feeding four out of five flats in the same building free electricity.

Parmar initially claimed the meters were installed before he bought the property, but a date stamp on a meter showed this was not the case.

One of the meters was found to be on the verge of catching fire and was condemned because of botched wiring.

Investigating officer DC Paul Coyle said: "The electrical fittings at several of the properties were extremely dangerous and could potentially have resulted in fire and danger to life.

"I am pleased that today's sentencing could go some way to deter others from tampering with the electrical supply."

Ian Lawrie, defending, said Parmar should not be blamed for the fittings, which were installed for cash-in-hand payment by a man called Steve Burdett.

Mr Burdett was interviewed by police and later sacked from his job, but no charges were brought against him.

Mr Lawrie said: “It is a matter of importance that, while the aggravating factors are clear, there was no purposeful direct financial gain to this man in terms of money in the pocket.

“In truth, he has had to pay a significant amount of money in consequence of what he thought was a cheap and convenient way of installing meters.”