A Tingha man has received a lifetime ban from every single Bunnings store after he was caught stealing from the Inverell warehouse.
Matthew James Walker, 32, appeared before Inverell Local Court on Thursday pleading guilty to larceny, after police seized stolen goods from his house in January.
Statements tendered to court outlined police were alerted to the theft from Bunnings after CCTV footage captured Walker park in the tradesman drive, make two trips back to the car with goods, then look "suspiciously around", before driving off without paying.
The statements said police were told it was suspected Walker had been stealing for some time.
When officers went to his home in Tingha, Walker told them "I thought I didn't pay for them, it must have slipped my mind".
Police saw the 34 buckets he stole on January 24 were currently being used around the house. They also saw a number of Ryobi power tools still in the boxes, and other tools suspected to be Bunnings property.
Officers took a halogen work light, a children's night light and aluminum flushing which they returned to the hardware store. Police then served Walker with a lifetime ban from any Bunnings store.
On Thursday his solicitor, Frank Falcomata, asked for the court's leniency in giving Walker, who'd made an "error of judgement", a non-conviction given his complete lack of record and early plea of guilty.
It was submitted that Walker had to give up his employment and "step up" to look after a family member full time.
The granny flat he had been living in needed "substantial renovations" to make it liveable.
"He is finding it difficult to cope financially... there's not a lot left at the end of the week... but he doesn't proffer that as an excuse," Mr Falcomata explained.
He also said in "the spirit of full disclosure", that more charges may be forthcoming.
"Other items were taken and confiscated by the police - and it's important to be transparent in that regard considering the ask of the non-conviction".
Magistrate Brett Shields said the facts showed a man who had every intent on stealing the items.
While Mr Falcomata said Walker was also prepared to make full payment of the items, the magistrate said he had not taken any initiative to make those payments.
"Extending a non-conviction.... in a conscious act of dishonesty doesn't sit very well," Magistrate Shields said, saying stealing was endemic in the community and was not a "consequence-free thing to do".
Walker was convicted and fined $500.
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