Michael Noffke, 27, admitted to fuel theft.
Michael Noffke, 27, admitted to fuel theft. Ross Irby

Fuel thief 'no wallet' ploy

TRADIE and now convicted fuel thief Michael Noffke's stealing ways were labelled "grubby” by an Ipswich magistrate.

Clearly unimpressed by the facts placed before her, Magistrate Tracy Mossop "congratulated” the Logan cabinet maker for getting his first jail sentence.

Michael James Noffke, 27, from Shailer Park, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to two counts of fraud; unauthorised dealing with shop goods; and three counts of breaching his bail conditions.

Prosecutor, Sergeant Bernard Elmore, said the aggravating feature to his crimes was that they were committed while he was subject to a probation order for similar offences.

Defence lawyer Shaune Irving shed some light on the facts before the court, saying they consisted of fuel drive-offs. When police spoke to Noffke, he said he was aware he was committing the offences.

He was on district court bail for other matters at the time.

Mr Irving said it only involved small amounts of fuel in the three incidents but it was something "not acceptable by community standards”.

Mr Irving acknowledged the thefts would affect citizens who legitimately forgot their wallet.

Ms Mossop agreed, saying it had a flow-on effect because fuel station staff would likely treat anyone as a potential criminal in that situation.

Mr Irving conceded Noffke (bail breach offences) had been on a court-imposed curfew when he went to a 7-Eleven store at Ormeau at 11.20pm when he was intercepted by police.

Ms Mossop said Noffke did the same thing at 11.30pm on August 2, when police found Noffke at a McDonald's.

"It raises eyebrows as to why would you be out at 11pm when on a curfew,” she said.

"Police are monitoring him.”

Ms Mossop said Noffke received an 18-month probation order earlier this year, which was effective until October, 2020

Ms Mossop provided further police facts, saying it involved three fuel drive-offs, valued at $30.02 in Loganlea on April 22; $30.01 at Marsden on April 30; and $20.01 at Eagleby on May 7.

In each case, Noffke told console operators he did not have any money but would return to pay later.

Ms Mossop said there was a pattern of dishonesty.

"Your behaviour puts a slight on people out there who may genuinely leave their wallet at home,” she said.

"Who at these service stations would want to give someone the benefit of the doubt as you have basically abused that trust.

"What this is, it is grubby.”

Noffke was sentenced to a four-month jail term.

Because he was being supervised under the existing probation order, Ms Mossop said she would suspend the sentence for 12 months.

"Congratulations. You have got your first sentence of prison on your history. Not something to be proud of.”

"No,” said Noffke.

He was ordered to pay $80 restitution.