Robert James Thompson outside Ipswich Magistrates Court.
Robert James Thompson outside Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Baker steals hundreds of dollars worth of fuel

A BAKER left a trail of unpaid petrol debt after he repeatedly drove off without paying after filling up.

The driver sometimes went into the attendant and made excuses but then failed to return and pay.

His free fuel escapades finally caught up with bread maker Robert Thompson, with Ipswich Magistrates Court told he was unemployed at the time and had been out job hunting.

Robert James Thompson, 39, pleaded guilty to 15 charges that included 11 counts of stealing fuel; fraud; unlawful use of a motor vehicle (a hire car at Ipswich in December last year); driving when drug positive to methylamphetamine; and contravening a police order to give identification details in March last year.

Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said the fuel thefts took place at service stations in Ebbw Vale, North Ipswich, Ironbark, Fernvale, West Ipswich, Hatton Vale, Brassall, Yamanto, Plainland and Southport.

Sgt Molinaro said the total value was $569.27, with his offences committed between December 2019 and December last year.

She said the unlawful use charge occurred when Thompson failed to return a hire car at the end of the agreement.

“Specific deterrence is needed as it has affected local businesses,” Sgt Molinaro said.

“In the eyes of the community it is not acceptable to help yourself to fuel.”

Sgt Molinaro sought either a suspended jail term or a community service work order as penalty.

Magistrate Terry Duroux warned he would consider taking his licence from him for the fuel thefts.

Defence lawyer Dylan Hans said “a heavy” unpaid community service work order was appropriate.

Mr Hans argued that a loss of licence would be detrimental as Thompson now had employment as a baker.

He said the night shift worker needed a licence to get to work as he lived some distance from the rural bakery.

“Since he found work there has been a decline in his offending with a more stable environment,” Mr Hans said.

“He is in a much better position now. To take his licence would be taking a step backwards.”

Mr Hans said the distance meant it was too expensive to take a taxi.

Mr Duroux inquired as to what caused his offending.

Mr Hans said Thompson instructs he was unemployed and driving to “job trials” that did not pay him to travel.

Mr Duroux said he noted that there was only one occasion where Thompson returned to pay for the fuel.

For driving when drug positive, Mr Duroux disqualified his licence one month with a $400 fine.

For the fuel thefts he was sentenced to complete 150 hours of community service work and ordered to pay restitution.

Read more stories by Ross Irby here.