Remote building looted
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.
Bradley John Wilkes fronted Proserpine Magistrates Court this week.