FUEL THIEF: A man faced court after completing a series of fuel drive-offs through Queensland.
FUEL THIEF: A man faced court after completing a series of fuel drive-offs through Queensland. Noel Thompson

Fuel thief drives through Warwick

CHARLES Compton sold a ride-on mower online for $3400 but the mower never arrived by truck at the home of the interstate buyer.

Compton told the annoyed buyer the mower had been "repossessed" and he had spent the money.

He then drove between Logan, Gympie, Warwick, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Gold Coast - sometimes for court appearances - Compton and committed a series of fuel drive-offs, stacking up hundreds of dollars in unpaid bills.

Compton's highway roaming is temporarily at an end after he lost his licence for three years when he faced Bundaberg Magistrates Court.

Charles Edward John Compton, 35, pleaded guilty to 22 charges including fraud, a series of stealing offences, including unlawful dealing with shop goods; two counts of drug driving (methylamphetamine), doing wilful damage at Star City Casino in Brisbane, two counts of driving unlicensed, drug offences, and three counts of breaching bail.

In police evidence put by prosecutor Sergeant Dean Burgess, the fuel drive-offs totalled about $700 and involved more than eight businesses. Compton had sent a text to the mower buyer saying the grass cutter had been repossessed by a debt collector; and although he had tried in some cases to pay for fuel the card failed.

And despite saying (in some instances) he would return to pay, Compton had not.

Sgt Burgess said Compton was at Star City Casino on May 7 and been ejected.

When walking through the car park he swung on metal poles holding car park space sensor lights that resulted in the bars coming down causing $544 damage.

In other incidents a small amount of cannabis was found in Compton's car at Warwick and he had methylamphetamine in his system while driving at Maryborough.

When asked by magistrate Belinda Merrin why he should not be jailed, his lawyer Lavonda Maloy said he had shown significant insight into his offending.

Mrs Maloy said Compton is a father of six who realises he has hit rock bottom and needs to change his way of life after leading an itinerant lifestyle.

He had stopped all contact with people who had been an adverse influence on him and now illicit substance free.

He had engaged in a mental health plan and seeking help for anxiety and other issues that came from childhood incidents.

Mrs Maloy said Compton in an act of stupidity had been stretching on the parking light bars at the Casino that broke.

Ms Merrin said that by his driving around and offending Compton caused significant loss to businesses and had made no effort to repay the $3400 to the mower buyer or to the businesses.

Acknowledging he now intends to repay the monies, Ms Merrin said his offences had been in defiance of court orders.

Compton was sentenced to six months' jail for the mower fraud and to lesser jail terms for the other offences with an immediate release on parole.

He was resentenced over previous offences and will be supervised for 18 months under a probation order, and must do various programs and counselling. He was also ordered to pay restitution. to his victims. through SPER.



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