Generic image of a shipping container
Generic image of a shipping container Stuart Cumming

Shipping container thefts cost train driver $23,000

A TRAIN driver stole four shipping containers from two companies over 16 months in Mackay and Rockhampton.

Christopher Peter Roberts pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday to three counts of stealing and one of failing to appear in court.

Police prosecutor Julie Marsden said Roberts acquired the shipping containers through hire purchase arrangements.

She said his offending was sophisticated, covering the serial number on one, hiding another in Mackay of which the whereabouts is still unknown and also hired out a shipping container to other people.

The court heard Roberts stole two shipping containers from a Rockhampton businessman on September 16, 2016, and two from a Ooralea, Mackay, business between February 27, 2017 and January 2, 2018.

Ms Marsden said just under $23,000 was sought in restitution.

She said the time between the two sets of offending suggested the defendant thought he got away with the first thefts and decided to commit more.

The court heard four long plea dates had been set since Roberts was charged and many adjournments for various reasons.

Ms Marsden said the theft of the containers had caused significant financial impacts on the businesses.

"Both lost over $10,000 in replacement costs and hire fees," she said.

Ms Marsden said she was advised by Roberts' lawyer prior to sentencing that Roberts' had located the shipping containers and reported that to police.

"I've checked that. There are no records on police computers. I've spoken to the arresting officer who says the defendant knows him. He says there's been no report," she said.

Defence lawyer Rowan King said his client advises he reported the shipping containers' locations to the Rockhampton Police Station front counter.

He said Roberts was unemployed at the time of the offending but now had a job as a train driver which paid him about $135,000 a year.

Roberts received a 12 month prison term, wholly suspended and operational for three years.

He was also ordered to pay $22,985.06 restitution and a $500 fine.