Turtle theft man Dylan Palmer outside court.
Turtle theft man Dylan Palmer outside court. Craig Warhurst

$4000 worth of gear 'found' at the beach

DYLAN Palmer took his dog for a swim and walk at night on beachside north of Bargara when he stumbled on a haul of gear hidden under bushes.

Palmer used the light on his mobile phone to get a better look, then says he returned to the spot and took the gear home.

Police say the gear (worth more than $4000) had been stolen from the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, the world-famous conservation site run by National Parks that looks after nesting endangered loggerhead turtles.

Dylan Thomas Palmer, 23, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to receiving tainted property between July 11 and July 20.

A charge of entering premises by break was withdrawn and dismissed.

Prosecutor, Senior Constable Tina Bland said a park ranger reported that a shed at the Mon Repos centre was broken into, its lock cut.

Three drums of fuel had been stolen along with a $2000 generator.

A second break-in was also reported and equipment stolen (some of it new) included a $1500 steel chainsaw, a $1000 whipper snipper, a $400 blower, circular saw, power leads, screwdrivers and other gear.

Snr Cnst Bland said police received information Palmer may have the stolen property.

A search of his Bundaberg house located the stolen generator, circular saw, blower and other missing equipment in his garage.

"He says he took his dog for a swim at Mon Repos and when walking along the boardwalk he found the property in bushland," Snr Cnst Bland said.

"And he returned the next day with a friend. He says 'No' when asked if he broke into the shed."

She said Palmer had received a jail sentence for a previous stealing offence.

Defence lawyer Gavin James said Palmer gave an explanation to police as how he came across the goods.

However, magistrate Belinda Merrin said she did not accept it, "he knew it was stolen".

"I don't believe he found it when walking the dog, or came into possession the way he (says he) did," Ms Merrin said.

Mr James said Palmer had worked on fishing trawlers then found himself in trouble with the law but no longer uses drugs.

He had known Palmer for some time, Mr James said: "I can tell he is not using drugs, he looks healthy now".

Ms Merrin said Palmer had five pages of criminal history and the property from Mon Repos was valuable.

Palmer was sentenced to nine months jail, released immediately to supervised parole with Ms Merrin warning Palmer that he knew the consequences if he re-offended.

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