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22 April 2010

Camira couple stole copper to buy drugs

QT

AN IPSWICH couple sold more than $4000 worth of stolen copper cables to feed their drug habits and pay their mortgage, a court heard.

Ipswich Magistrates Court was told Mark Quinton, who worked as a boilermaker, stole the copper cables from disused Queensland Government buildings in Wacol on "about 20 occasions" and had his partner Ashley Truda Cafe pick him up afterwards.

The Camira couple then used Cafe's ABN to sell the copper to scrap metal companies between January and October 2007.

Quinton admitted stealing the wiring and told police he did it to "fund his addiction to methylamphetamine".

Police searched the couple's home on October 30, 2007 and discovered Quinton had allowed a friend to store chemicals used to produce drugs in his shed.

Officers also found small quantities of cannabis, methylamphetamine, a used syringe, scales and a pipe.

The couple left the state to get married after being charged but were caught by police again after recently returning to Queensland.

Quinton, 36, and Cafe, 23, told police they left the Ipswich region to get away from bad influences and to stay clean of drugs.

Cafe pleaded guilty to stealing, possessing tainted property, fraud and breaching bail.

Quinton pleaded guilty to stealing, fraud, possessing tainted property, failing to dispose of a needle, permitting use of place, possessing property suspected of having been used in a drug offence, possessing utensils and two charges of possessing dangerous drugs.

Cafe was given three months jail which was wholly suspended for 18 months, fined $400 and ordered to pay $2108 to the scrap metal yard.

Quinton was sentenced to four months jail which was wholly suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay $2108 restitution.

Defence lawyer Natasha Shorter said her clients had a significant drug habit and a mortgage to pay at the time, which is why they stole the copper cables.

But she said Quinton and Cafe had since stayed out of trouble and had turned their lives around.

Ms Shorter said Cafe had also allowed a number of friends to use her account to sell stolen copper wiring.


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