Crossed lines help send gardener to prison
A man who thought he was on hold while phoning the probation service was overheard trying to sell drugs.
Landscape gardener Kirk Walsh, 32, pleaded guilty in the Nelson District Court yesterday to charges of attempting to sell cannabis, driving while disqualified, breaching a community work sentence, breaching supervision, and three charges of receiving stolen property.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Graeme Eden told the court that on March 13, Walsh was on the phone to Community Probation Services in Blenheim about 8.42pm. While he thought he was on hold, he was overheard telling another person that he could sell him or her "a lot" of cannabis for $4000.
When Walsh was questioned by police about the call, he said he was "just talking it up", Eden said.
On February 1 about 11.30am, Walsh was stopped by police in Cobb Valley Rd in Golden Bay. When police discovered that he was driving while disqualified, he explained that he was out hunting and was looking for a missing dog.
On January 2 about 6.30pm, Walsh was found to be connected to the theft of property from a campground in Marlborough, Eden said.
Police located money taken from an honesty box, items taken from a campervan, and diving equipment taken from a tourist's vehicle.
Walsh declined to offer a statement to police.
On February 10, Walsh received a fog machine and a lighting system valued at $20,000 that had been stolen from a Blenheim property about 3.30pm that day, Eden said.
A bystander saw Walsh sitting in a car while two associates jumped over a fence, entered the property and stole the equipment.
Police later found the stolen items in the boot of the car.
On March 10, a bird scarer valued at $1800 was stolen from a Blenheim property, Eden told the court.
Police later stopped Walsh and found the scarer in the back seat of his vehicle.
Defence lawyer Sarah McGovern asked Judge Peter Butler to consider a community detention-based sentence.
The judge noted that Walsh had five previous dishonesty-related convictions and nine breaches of community-based sentences.
Walsh had a high risk of reoffending because of his history of non-compliance, the judge said. "I do not think in this case community detention will fit the bill."
He sentenced Walsh to 18 months in prison.
The Nelson Mail