Cops catch up with Sparky the clown's antics in fake Beechworth robbery

A CHILDREN’S entertainer who faked a robbery at a Beechworth petrol station involving $15,000 has been ordered to do 150 hours community service.

Neil Anthony Johnstone, better known across the Border as Sparky the Clown, pleaded guilty in Wodonga Court yesterday to his involvement in the May 26 “hold-up”.

The Wooragee resident, 54, suffered depression, but could not say why he stole the money from the Shell service station where he had been employed as an attendant.

The court heard he had made up a story about two masked men pointing a handgun at him and demanding cash.

The reality was that he swiped $15,000 and hid it in his girlfriend’s car before his tale unravelled with police.

The service station’s owner, Frank Wadi, declined to comment on the sentence.

“It doesn’t affect me,” Mr Wadi said.

“Good luck to him. He can move on with his life.”

Beechworth police Sgt Geoff Still said at the time the hoax had been a drain on police.