GUILTY: A man pleaded guilty to breaking into Stanthorpe Hospital and stealing a swag of drugs.
GUILTY: A man pleaded guilty to breaking into Stanthorpe Hospital and stealing a swag of drugs. Contributed

HOSPITAL HIT: Man jailed after stealing swag of drugs

A MAN has claimed he had no money to pay for medication when he broke into the locked pharmacy at Stanthorpe Hospital and swiped morphine and other drugs.

Defence lawyer David Jones said Anthony Liam Panzera was a 'broken man' when he stole the drugs from a cabinet and safe, then stashed them inside his stovetop in September.

"He instructs it wasn't planned," Mr Jones said. "It shows the difficulties with drug addiction."

Crown prosecutor Chontelle Farnsworth said Panzera's crimes were fuelled by a drug addiction and continued a trend of breaking into premises and stealing property.

The Stanthorpe man will spend at least a year behind bars after pleading guilty in Warwick District Court to one count each of breaking and entering and stealing as well as possessing dangerous drugs.

These drugs included methadone, diazepam and morphine.

The court was told Panzera broke into a premises in 2005 , with $135,000 the final cost of property he stole or damaged.

In a 2017 incident, he also stole $45,000 worth of property, she said.

"Despite coming before the court on many occasions he continues to reoffend," she said.

During the most recent occasion at Stanthorpe Hospital, Ms Farnsworth said Panzera was on parole and the total value of the medication he took was unknown.

Lawyer David Jones said at the time of the offence Panzera's wife had left him and he'd lost his housemate, which meant he had no money for rent or medication.

"It's when they're in stress in their life and how they deal with that stress, that's the difficulty with drug addiction," he said.

Mr Jones said Panzera, 44, did end up handing himself in and showing police where he had stashed the drugs, which showed remorse and his level of desperation.

"One thing's for certain is that he's going to have a difficult time in the future with his conditions and drug rehabilitation," Mr Jones said.

During sentencing, Judge Nathan Jarro said Panzera had a bad history and questioned whether he would stop committing offences.

"It's really a matter for you, the more you commit crimes the more you can expect a harsher sentence," Judge Jarro said.

Panzera was sentenced to 12 months' jail, which he will serve on top of a jail term he was sentenced to in May 2017.

He will be eligible for parole on May 9 next year.