A WODONGA man who initially protested his innocence when a drug laboratory was found at his home stole property valued at $160,000 from his parents’ neighbours’ house a month later.
Troy Reginald Hawkins yesterday pleaded guilty in Wodonga Magistrates Court to possessing materials for trafficking a drug of dependence and burglary.
Hawkins, 39, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail yesterday.
He will soon be released on parole having served the six-month non-parole period of his sentence, following his arrest last August.
Hawkins spoke to The Border Mail last July on the day a drug lab was found in his Kelly Street house, saying he was “dumbfounded” by the find.
He laid the blame on a man who had been staying in his home.
John Anthony Weston, 38, from Queensland, was charged with possessing materials to make drugs to traffic and he faces the County Court in Ballarat in a circuit that begins on February 24.
Police found Hawkins’ fingerprints on a gas stove that was used to make the drug ice in a bedroom.
His solicitor Mario Vaccaro said even though the equipment was taken from his client’s garage, it was accepted in court yesterday Hawkins, who had been addicted to ice, was aware drugs were being manufactured in his home.
The July 15 raid came a month before Hawkins stole $160,000 in property, including a $120,000 Toyota LandCruiser, from the house next door to his parents in Ebden with co-accused Benjamin Kennedy, 26.
His parents were looking after their neighbours’ house while they were away at the time.
Mr Vaccaro told the court issues began for Hawkins after he started to self-medicate with cannabis, medication and amphetamine due to pain from a fractured arm.
He said Hawkins lost his job as a forklift driver after a positive drug test.
“From that point on, your honour, things spiralled,” Mr Vaccaro told Magistrate John O’Callaghan.
Mr O’Callaghan said Hawkins’ plea of guilty and the strength of support from his family and estranged wife warranted a shorter jail term.
He said Hawkins’ driver was his ice addiction.
“You became caught up in, like many others have, this insidious drug ice,” he said.
“I’ve given you a chance today to prove to me and the community that you can get over that addiction.”
Hawkins was also given a three-month jail term wholly suspended for two years due to a breach of an intervention order.