Park vandal on curbs and curfew

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 10/05/2014

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One of the vandals who wrecked Pukekura Park's $11,000 motorised cart after taking it for a wild joyride is now under intense supervision and a night-time curfew.

Joseph John Drent, 17, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court this week after a burglary spree with his mates during January and February.

In one burglary, he and two others stole and wrecked the golf cart used by disabled and elderly people to get around the park.

The theft of the cart led to a public outcry.

Drent handed himself in to police after a photo, taken from the park's security video, was published in the Taranaki Daily News.

In sentencing, Judge Allan Roberts said the community derived intense pleasure from the park.

And it must have been "demoralising in the extreme" for those responsible for caring for the park to see their hard work undermined, he told Drent.

"You must have known you had wrecked the golf cart."

Drent and his mates had broken into the golf cart's locked shed and hot-wired the cart, the court heard. They drove it around the park, did donuts, and lost control three times.

It ended when they crashed at full speed into a tree and the cart ended up down a bank landing on its nose.

Drent who had known "issues" should have been better monitored by those responsible for him, the judge said.

Drent's lawyer Josie Mooney said Drent was working as a casual worker in a cafe and wanted to pay off his share of the reparation.

Drent had also been party to burglaries at Elite Fitness where property worth $3800 was taken, Molten Metals, where the thieves took a car for a joyride around the yard, and Toll NZ when they stole energy drinks and drove a trolley along the railway lines.

In sentencing Drent to supervision, the judge warned him he would be jailed if he breached his conditions.

Drent was ordered to attend a psychiatric assessment and not to associate with the other offenders.

He was also given four months' community detention with a seven day a week curfew to keep him off the streets at night time, the judge said.

Drent also has to pay $2333 - his share of the reparation - at $30 per week.

The judge said he would remit Drent's outstanding fines of $1800 if he got through the sentence.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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