Paramedic's boozy raid at golf club

ROB KIDD
Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012

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A South Auckland man has jeopardised his career as a paramedic after a boozy golf club break-in.

Joshua Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to burglary at Papakura District Court yesterday, after he and a friend used the flagstick from the 18th green to break into the Manukau Golf Club lounge.

Once inside, they ransacked cupboards and fridges, stealing top shelf spirits, bottles of wine and a few RTDs.

And there was no long drive home.

They made their way across the golf course on foot, even crossing a river at one stage to go to the home of Smith's friend where they made a start on drinking their haul.

Shortly afterwards, police were called and tracked the men using a dog.

Upon finding them drinking in a garage, police asked whether they were involved in the break-in.

Initially the men said they had been at the Manurewa address all night but they struggled to explain why their trousers were wet up to the knees.

Eventually they came clean and according to a police summary of facts "showed some remorse, before stating they were drunk".

Manukau Golf Club manager Stewart Halligan said there was not a lot of damage done but was seeking reparation for the broken windows and lost stock.

"It's just the bloody annoyance," he said.

The location of the course, in a low-decile area and accessible from all directions, made it particularly vulnerable, Halligan said.

Smith had been forced to give up his volunteer work for St John since being charged and his lawyer said she would be seeking a discharge without conviction at his sentencing next month, to protect his ability to become a paramedic in future.

But Judge Russell Callendar was sceptical.

"You've got a stack of previous convictions so don't get your hopes up too much," he said.

Halligan was torn when told of the pending application for a discharge.

"It doesn't sit well with me... having said that I believe in redemption and if there's any opportunity to do that, then so be it," he said.

If Smith really wanted to show remorse, Halligan suggested, he should turn up at the club and "do some bloody work".

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