AN UNLIKELY team of amateur drug cooks, who tried and failed to set up a meth lab, have all walked from court with jail terms hanging over their heads.
Broke property investor Hugo Charles Fabre, self-proclaimed alcoholic grandma Sharon Elizabeth Lalor, repeat-offender Christopher Thomas Phillips and government office worker Rebecca Ruth Young, all pleaded guilty to producing dangerous drugs.
But the Hervey Bay District Court heard the four had found themselves on the wrong side of the law for different reasons.
Fabre and Phillips were remanded in custody and Lalor and Young released on conditional bail after police uncovered a live lab at a home in Boat Harbour Dr last year.
At the centre of the operation was Phillips, a convicted criminal and drug addict who despite being busted twice before for meth production in the past, decided to give it one more go.
Unfortunately for Young, a 30-year-old woman who was "a highly respected member of the community" with a stable government job, Phillips proved irresistible and the pair embarked on a relationship which would eventually see her providing money for the ingredients needed for the cook.
For Lalor, the lure of being paid "$100 per packet of pseudo" (pseudoephedrine) proved too tempting for someone who needed the cash to fuel a daily drinking habit.
Her criminal history was as troubling as the story of a woman who had survived the wrath of a barbaric partner, a bad car accident and had allowed her substance abuse to alienate her from family and lead her daughter to ban her from meeting her newborn grandson.
Then there was Fabre, who like Phillips, was a glutton for punishment and after losing nine investment properties and his marriage, decided a career in crime was his only option.
Justice Richard Jones noted while they only managed to produce a very small amount of methamphetamine, he described it as an "insidious drug" and public deterrent loomed large.
He took into account time served and allowed Fabre to be released under a supervision order.
Phillips, who had also been behind bars since the arrest, was jailed for two years but given immediate parole.
Lalor was jailed for three months but also allowed parole in the hope continued supervision would help her address her drinking problem
While her criminal history was in stark contrast to her co-accused and the recording of a conviction would likely result in her losing her job, Judge Jones said Young's situation "was very much of your own making". She was given a three-month suspended jail sentence.