This teenager was behind 30 business breakins

BRAIDEN Jack Unwin may not be old enough to legally drink, but he was old enough to take part in a spate of break-ins to Hervey Bay businesses, causing almost $20,000 worth of damage.

A court heard part of the reason Unwin, 17, committed the crimes was to pay his rent, because he had no job and did not "understand" how the Centrelink system worked.

He appeared via videolink in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday, and pleaded guilty to 30 stealing- related charges and two wilful damage charges.

The crimes were committed in areas including Torquay, Urangan and Pialba earlier this year.

Unwin was taken into custody in the middle of February and had spent 39 days in custody.

Police prosecutor Donna Sperling said Unwin's sentence "needs to have some impact on him".

"These are serious offences causing $18,000 worth of damage and had a high cost to the community," Snr Const Sperling said.

"A conviction won't stop him from getting employment… the community would just be aware (of the offences)."

Snr Const Sperling said the restitution of more than $18,000 had been split between the two accused thieves.

Unwin's defence lawyer Michael Riedel said his client had been using marijuana since he was 13, and using amphetamines since he was 16.

"(Unwin) started committing offences to feed his drug habit," Mr Riedel said.

"He was receiving no money from Centrelink, no money at all…part of the offending was to pay his rent.

"When I asked him why he didn't make arrange- ments with Centrelink, he said he didn't understand the system."

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge acknowledged there was no criminal history placed before him, but added the offences were serious.

"(Unwin) took more than $18,000 from the community with nothing for you to pay that back," Mr Guttridge said.

For the 30 stealing-related charges, Unwin was sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to serve 240 hours of community service with no conviction recorded.

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