IN COURT: Steve Moore pleaded guilty to receiving the tonnes of stolen avocados.
IN COURT: Steve Moore pleaded guilty to receiving the tonnes of stolen avocados. Francis Witsenhuysen

Avo go at this: Fruit fraudster does time

A MAN who received more than $3000 worth of stolen avocados from a Blackbutt farm has been ordered to complete community service.

Steve Moore was sentenced in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on March 15 for one count of receiving tainted property and three counts of fraud.

The 41-year-old Blackbutt man was charged with receiving 5450 stolen avocados from the farm, which adds up to a commercial value of about $3270.

Magistrate Pink said Moore's criminal history did not involve any previous convictions for dishonesty.

"Someone has put the time and effort to cultivate those avocados and someone has stolen them from the fruit trees and you have received them and then the fraud charges relate to the sale of those avocados," she said.

The court heard the defendant previously had a good employment history, with his last permanent employment in 2015.

He worked doing some seasonal fruit picking in July last year.

"After a relationship breakdown, it seems you had your struggle with drugs," Magistrate Pink said.

"I'm told you are no longer using drugs and your criminal history supports that."

Magistrate Pink said she was told the offence came about because the defendant was trying to make ends meet.

"You would certainly know as a man of 41, you can't take property and sell it for gain," she said.

The magistrate said the defendant had the benefit of the principal of using imprisonment as a last resort.

"This is not yet a last resort, if you come back before the court for further dishonest offending at this scale and value, it may be a different picture," she said.

Moore was sentenced to 180 hours of community services to be completed within 12 months for all charges.

"Having regard to your criminal history and character reflected in this offending, I will exercise my discretion to record a conviction," Magistrate Pink said.

He was also ordered to pay a restitution of $3270 to the farm.