Car break-ins earn jail stint

IPSWICH'S car owners can breathe a sigh of relief as the city's one-man crime spree has been returned to jail.

Mark Clifford Butt was sentenced in Ipswich Magistrate's Court for 84 charges connected to his penchant for breaking into cars and stealing whatever he can get his hands on.

Between March 1 and September 29 last year, Butt broke into at least 37 cars, most in the Ipswich area, to steal money and other possessions.

While the 40-year-old only managed on most occasions to swipe small change or bills, his loot totalled $5893 before he was caught.

He took some of the stolen property to pawnbrokers to get more cash.

Butt had only been released from prison in January for “uncannily similar” crimes, but was back to his old tricks by March.

He was caught in October last year and agreed to take police on a “clean-up” or drive around where he pointed out and admitted all the crimes he had committed.

Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said if it wasn't for Butt's incredible co-operation he may not have been charged with so many offences. He said his client was addicted to cannabis and alcohol and stole to support his habit.

He said Butt also stole because his disability pensioner partner, who suffered from liver disease, had mounting medication costs.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said it was disappointing that Butt had re-offended straight after being released from jail last year.

“You've just continued on your way committing the offences as you have done over the last several years,” Mr Stjernqvist said.

Butt pleaded guilty to 40 charges of stealing, 37 of unlawful entry of a motor vehicle, one of wilful damage and six of fraud.

He was sentenced to three years jail and will be released on parole on October 22 this year, with 106 days spent in pre-sentence custody being taken in account.

Mr Stjernqvist did not order Butt to pay restitution as he had little capacity.

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