Prosecutors have dropped the charge against a man accused of stealing from a service station where he worked after hearing the boss had moved away.

Hassan Ibrahim was said to have pocketed cash from the Bridge Filling Station in Marlborough.

But the Crown offered no evidence against the 40-year-old, saying they were having trouble organising the key witness.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that the garage’s owner, Zubair Dean, had emigrated to Thailand He said that while they had spoken to his son, who now runs the business, it was not clear if his dad would be available to give evidence.

"Zubair Dean now lives in Thailand. Numerous attempts to contact him have been made without success. Contact has been made with his son," he said.

"Mr Dean may be willing to give evidence from Bangkok, which is not unreasonable, but the date of trial is inconvenient as his wife is due to give birth.

"We have tried to get in contact with him but have not established Mr Dean will attend to give evidence in this trial.

"It is not a case where his statement can be read. It is not a case where the Crown will proceed further."

After he offered no evidence Judge Douglas Field entered a formal not guilty verdict which is the same as if a jury had done so.

Ibrahim, of Drayton Walk, Walcot, Swindon, had pleaded not guilt to a single count of theft.

He was alleged he had stolen thousands from the service station where he worked between the start of November 2011 and Wednesday April 11 last year.