Large fine for stolen copper piping worth $6K

A URANGAN man has plead guilty to possessing $6000 worth of copper piping, stolen from dozens of homes and businesses across Hervey Bay.   Matthew Paul Phillips, 40, appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday, facing nine charges including possessing suspected stolen property and possessing dangerous drugs.   Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Donna Sperling told the court during a police search of Phillips' home last year, officers found "a large amount of building supplies, copper piping and other items".   "In buckets were copper piping and all kinds of things that were reported missing, or items similar, reported by businesses in Hervey Bay," Snr Con Sperling said.   She said the stolen property was worth $6000.   The prosecutor said police had found methamphetamine, scales and illegal thumb cuffs in Phillips' bedroom.   "The defendant made no admission to the methamphetamine," she said.   Phillips' defence lawyer asked Magistrate Dean Wilkinson to to consider his client's "very early plea".   "My client asks a conviction not to be recorded, as he is worried it may affect his ability to gain employment," he said.   The prosecutor added the offences were "very serious".   "The community should be aware of his offending," she said.   Magistrate Wilkinson fined Phillips $8,500, ordering him to pay $6000 for the stolen copper and building equipment.   "There is a great deal of public property made of brass and copper that has been located and has been stolen by someone," Mr Wilkinson said.   "You have not been charged with stealing, but are charged with being in possession of the property."   He also recorded a conviction for the drug offences.   "The drugs, thumb cuffs and utensils are forfeited," he said.   "People in the community should be aware of your behaviour, a conviction should be recorded."  


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