Drug addict steals fuel on way to rehab clinic

A MAN battling drug addiction committed a petrol drive-off in a stolen car before taking himself to a live-in rehabilitation centre, an Ipswich court has heard.

Stephen Lee Morris, 45, was located by police in the residential facility after seeking professional help for his problems.

Morris, 45, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to stealing petrol valued at $76.68 from BP Newstead on Sunday, February 2.

While the car Morris was driving had been reported stolen, he was not charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Bernard Elmore said Morris pumped fuel into a car then went inside to tell the attendant he had the wrong wallet and would return later.

He never did.

Snr Const. Elmore said police found Morris the following month, living in a residential centre where he had self-admitted for a six-month program.

“He said he was guilty and under the influence of drugs at the time,” Snr Const. Elmore said.

Defence lawyer Christy Louden said Morris had spent the past six months in the facility, intending to complete a rehabilitation program.

“He says it is working well and that he has gone cold turkey,” Ms Lowden said.

Magistrate David Shepherd welcomed the news that Morris had taken positive steps to address his drug problems, noting had a significant criminal history for offences such as dishonesty that suggest he had an ongoing difficulty with drugs.

“It is a very difficult thing to do, dealing with drug addiction,” Mr Shepherd said.

“I hope your efforts achieve something as you cannot go on and waste your life.”

He said Morris at the time was also on a suspended three-month jail sentence imposed by the Caboolture court for fraud and receiving charges in March last year, and also on a probation order.

He activated the suspended sentence, and imposed a two-month jail term for stealing the petrol, making it a total sentence of five months.

Mr Shepherd gave Morris immediate parole to continue his rehabilitation, with the sentence to hang over his head.