Ongoing theft offences by Mudgee man leads to prison

Mudgee Local Court.
Mudgee Local Court.

A 36-year-old man with a history of theft offences was jailed when he appeared in Mudgee Local Court for two new charges committed while he was serving a suspended prison sentence.

Ben John Birtles was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 months.

He was charged with Larceny after he stole a carton of pre-mixed drinks from a pub storage shed at about 10.37am on May 5, 2017.

Staff noticed the carton was missing during a delivery that afternoon and Birtles was seen taking it when they reviewed the CCTV footage. 

He was then charged with ‘break, enter and steal’, and ‘disposing of stolen property’ offences following an incident on April 16.

The victim was staying with a friend on the evening.

Birtles pushed in a piece of plywood covering a broken window at the home, unlocked the door and entered the premises.

Once inside he took $4766 worth items, including jewelry and electronics and he was seen fleeing the location by a family member of the victim.

Birtles’ fingerprints were detected at the house and he when police questioned him he admitted to on-selling a stolen camera and video recorder for $100.

He was refused bail since he was arrested on May 10.

His legal-aid solicitor, Ingrid Bown, said that her client’s actions were “opportunistic” but aggravated because of the suspended sentence he was serving at the time.

Magistrate Mark Shepherd said that those circumstances made sentencing “pretty simple”.

Birtles was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence in January for a number of incidents across three months.

At the time Magistrate Terry Lucas told him if he kept “going the way you are, you’ll end up in jail”.