Charity box thief used synthetic cannabis

A 23-year-old was using the synthetic cannabis Kronic when he snatched a Child Cancer Foundation donation box from a dairy counter.

Nigel Tran of Spreydon is now off the drug after beginning a sentence of intensive supervision for other offending last year.

He got a good report from the Probation Service about his positive progress today when he pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to charges of stealing the box and unlawful possession of a knife in a public place.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Scott said Tran went into a Spreydon dairy at 7.40pm on July 24 and asked the owner to heat a pie for him.

While the owner was at the rear of the shop, Tran took the donation box from the counter and left. It contained about $80 in donations and the box was worth $10.

On January 4, he became angry while at his home, took a carving knife and walked across the road to a park where he stabbed the knife into the ground and hit objects in the playground while he was yelling obscenities.

He told police he did it because he was angry and he was never going to hurt anyone.

Defence counsel Moana Cole said Tran had been dealing with "major issues" at the time.

Judge Jane Farish told him the theft of the donation box had been a particularly nasty offence.

"This was meant for people who are in desperate need of these funds," she said.

"I note that at the time, you were using Kronic, that awful synthetic cannabis and that since your intensive supervision sentence you have made some really good progress."

He had taken the knife out of the house after an argument with his partner, when he left the house to let off some steam, she said.

She ordered him to pay $90 for the donation box, and added 80 hours of community work to the sentence he is currently serving.

She told Tran: "Keep up the good progress and don't go back to using that horrible synthetic drug."

The Press