Thief targeted tuckshop as Cyclone Marcia hit city

THE tuckshop at Lakes Creek State School was short a few meat pies when Matthew Scott Lindley Elliott helped himself after Cyclone Marcia hit the region.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges in Rockhampton Magistrates Court this week after stealing food, money and fuel from the school.

At 8am on February 23, school staff noticed the tuckshop door open and found the safe and food missing.

The school shed's roller door was also open and a jerry can of fuel was gone, while a ride-on mower had a puncture hole in its fuel tank and fuel had been syphoned out.

Three days later police searched Elliott's home on Lakes Creek Rd and found a safe in a bedroom and pencil cases with money inside.

Elliott told police he went to the school after Cyclone Marcia and took the safe and food after noticing the tuckshop door was open.

Police also found the jerry can at his home; the court heard Elliott used the fuel for his generator.

The school's P&C was seeking $415.19 restitution for the stolen items.

Elliott's defence lawyer explained that like many others in Rockhampton, Elliott was out of food and fuel after the cyclone.

However, Magistrate Cameron Press said if anything, that was "an aggravating factor".

"You stole from a school P&C that is there to assist children and you stole at an opportune time for you and it really is deplorable," Mr Press said.

"You should be ashamed of yourself."

Elliott was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid community service, along with probation for 12 months, and must attend drug rehabilitation sessions on at least four occasions.

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