Vet trailer thief was addicted to drugs at 14
HER crimes devastated two Bundaberg businesses but Tiffany Gillen has walked free from court without serving a day behind bars after being slapped with a suspended sentence.
Appearing in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Gillen pleaded guilty to stealing a trailer from Vet Cross in Production Street and thousands of dollars worth of items from Bridges Health and Community Care in November last year.
The court heard on November 27 Gillen also stole toys from Target before police identified her and asked her to attend the Police Beat, which she did voluntarily.
It was there the 32-year-old made full admissions to the other offences, telling police with the help of a co-accused - a man she met during a day drug rehabilitation course - what they'd done and where the stolen items could be found.
But police prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland said while it was clear drug use was involved in the offending, it was not clear what, if any, of the items had been recovered.
In her client's defence, lawyer Lavonda Maloy told the court Gillen had started taking drugs at the age of 14 after she experienced a violent and traumatic childhood.
But Ms Maloy said her client was booked in to attend a residential rehabilitation centre on the Gold Coast once her matters before the court were finalised.
"This is my client turning the corner and she is very motivated to ensure she amends the error of her ways,” Ms Maloy said.
In sentencing Gillen, Magistrate Belinda Merrin took her admissions into account.
She sentenced Gillen to two 12 month suspended sentences, which will hang over her head for two and a half years.
In November Vet Cross's Tim Hill told the NewsMail the theft of the trailer was a "low act”, with the trailer and gear used to treat the region's horses.
Bridges Health and Community Care was also left reeling after $4000 worth of gardening equipment used by clients as part of their rehabilitation was taken.
The centre's chief executive Sharon Sarah said she was dismayed to find out thieves had broken into the Bourbong St charity, broke a padlock on the shed and taken a number of items including a red ride-on lawn mower, a brand new regular mower, whipper-snipper, leaf blower and even a can of petrol.
"We are really disappointed that people would steal from a charity that is there to help people get well,” she said in November.
"It is a low blow.”