Burglary role was to feed addiction

Last updated 12:00 02/05/2014

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A Palmerston North man helped a friend steal an assortment of guns and a laptop computer so he could get money to feed his synthetic cannabis addiction.

Jordan Graham Richard Wheeler, 21, had admitted being unlawfully in a building and two counts of burglary before his sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

The charges came after Wheeler and two other people were found inside a vacant house on February 5 this year.

Five days later, a friend of his committed a burglary at a house and asked for a ride to the property.

Wheeler drove his friend there, and helped him pick up four pistols, two rifles and a shotgun from where they were hidden.

In November last year, Wheeler and the same friend were walking past a house on Fitzherbert St when the friend saw an X-Box gaming console in the window.

He broke in while Wheeler kept guard, and picked up the console before stealing a laptop and its charger.

Police found Wheeler walking down Albert St with the laptop charger, and he admitted keeping watch.

In his pre-sentence report, he said he had helped with the thefts because he needed money to buy synthetic cannabis, which he was addicted to.

Defence lawyer Simon Parsons said Wheeler had spent 11 weeks in prison awaiting sentencing, and was glad for the time spent there as it gave him a chance to get off the synthetic cannabis.

Wheeler had described the legal highs as "pernicious" and dangerous for anyone, Parsons said.

"He does not want to return to using them."

The time in prison had also been a huge wake-up call, and he was ready to get his life back on track.

Judge Les Atkins sentenced Wheeler to six months' supervision, 80 hours' community work and two months in prison.

The judge said Wheeler would likely be out of prison very shortly, as time already spent in custody would go towards the sentence imposed.

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- Manawatu Standard

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