Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 12:52 UK

'Theft of 0.003p' case is dropped

The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped a case against a filmmaker from west London who was accused of stealing 0.003 pence worth of electricity.

Mark Guard, 44, entered a disused building to turn off an alarm after it was triggered by squatters.

But after he briefly turned on the lights in order to see the alarm, he was arrested and charged with dishonestly using electricity.

The CPS said there was "insufficient evidence to proceed with the case".

Mr Guard, who makes documentaries about the homeless, was watching as squatters entered the building in Camden, north London, on 1 August and set off a security sensor.

He told the Daily Mail newspaper: "I thought I was acting in the public interest.

"It was late in the evening and I knew families would have struggled to get to sleep if I hadn't done something.

"I even offered to pay 1p to the energy company which supplies electricity to the house, but it's not bothered about collecting such a paltry sum."

Trial by jury

Both Mr Guard and the squatters entered the building through an open window. They fled, but he was arrested by police who responded to the alarm.

The filmmaker first appeared in front of magistrates in Highbury, north London, earlier this month where he pleaded not guilty and elected to be tried by a jury.

But when he appeared again on Tuesday, the CPS chose to shelve the case.

A spokesman said: "We reviewed the evidence and decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case."

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