Re­mote build­ing looted

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

A CAN­NON­VALE man’s fin­ger­prints were found at a Gre­gory River prop­erty where $80,000 worth of prop­erty was stolen in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

But Bradley John Wilkes, 37, only re­luc­tantly ad­mit­ted to steal­ing a ham­mer and gas cylin­der be­tween April 7-May 22 fol­low­ing po­lice ques­tion­ing.

Pros­e­cu­tor Sergeant Sabine Scott told the court that boats and farm­ing equip­ment val­ued at $80,000 had been stolen from a Gre­gory River prop­erty, 2-3km along a gravel road where a chain and pad­lock were re­moved from a locked gate.

A foren­sic anal­y­sis showed Wilkes’ fin­ger­print on the ac­com­mo­da­tion block and he was called into the po­lice sta­tion for an in­ter­view.

Wilkes ini­tially told of­fi­cers he only went to the prop­erty for the pur­pose of fish­ing, but later con­fessed to en­ter­ing the prop­erty with an­other man to “ex­plore” and only stole a ham­mer and gas cylin­der and “noth­ing else”.

He re­fused to dis­close the name of his mate.

De­fence lawyer Rose­mary Var­ley said Wilkes and his friend en­tered what they be­lieved to be an “aban­doned” prop­erty on a mo­tor­bike, via the gate which was open as they ar­rived.

Mag­is­trate Si­mon Young said the tim­ing of the theft, shortly af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie dev­as­tated the re­gion, had “sin­is­ter over­tones”.

“I have dif­fi­culty ac­cept­ing the ex­pla­na­tion of (Wilkes) driv­ing through the prop­erty with a mate and hav­ing a ruf­fle through it find­ing a gas bot­tle to take away,” he said.

“This was a week af­ter the cy­clone, it dev­as­tated the re­gion, yet we have two blokes on mo­tor­bikes just com­ing across this build­ing. I have trou­ble ac­cept­ing this and I put low weight on that ex­pla­na­tion.”

Mr Young said the court ac­cepted the ham­mer and gas cylin­der were the only items he stole.

Wilkes was also charged with nu­mer­ous un­re­lated of­fences this year, in­clud­ing pos­sess­ing dan­ger­ous drugs and uten­sils, dis­obey­ing the speed limit and driv­ing while af­fected by a drug.

He was given a head sen­tence of six months prison with im­me­di­ate pa­role, and a two-month con­cur­rent prison sen­tence for en­ter­ing a premise to com­mit an in­dictable of­fence and pos­sess­ing dan­ger­ous drugs.

Wilkes was also fined a to­tal of $700 and was dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for three months for speed­ing and driv­ing while af­fected by a drug.

PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Bradley John Wilkes fronted Proser­pine Mag­is­trates Court this week.

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