Drug debt paid with stolen cheques

A MAN who used his stepfather's cheque book to pay his drug debts has been jailed for two years.

Walter Thomas Godfrey, 27, of North Bundaberg, faced Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to 30 offences including 16 of fraud and eight of forgery and uttering.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said in August this year, Godfrey had taken his stepdad's cheque book and used it to make two withdrawals from the ANZ Bank in Childers.

He was able to make four withdrawals of $500, $550, $1200 and $2800 before bank staff realised he was not the owner of the cheque book.

On October 12, he stole the wallet of a 70-year-old Justice of the Peace offering his services to shoppers at Sugarland Shoppingtown.

"The defendant knelt down next to the complainant and asked if he was working at a tax booth," Sgt Stevens said.

While he was talking, Godfrey stole the man's wallet and proceeded to use his credit card for several transactions, including several taxi rides, four bottle shop purchases, grocery purchases and at a lingerie store.

"He has a woeful addiction to substance abuse," barrister Craig Ryan, for Godfrey, said.

"Almost any drug that you can imagine, he has tried. His addictions lead him to offend to try to feed that addiction."

Mr Ryan said at the time of committing the offences with the cheque book, his client had big debts.

"He was required to pay that drug debt and, in desperation, he fell to making withdrawals from his stepfather's checking account," he said.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts sentenced Godfrey to 22 months jail for the bulk of the offences and two months cumulative jail time for offences of failing to appear.

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