Campers in the Buckland Valley drove an accused burglar into Porepunkah after he allegedly dumped a stolen vehicle on a rural track and walked out without shoes.
The campers did so to protect their safety after Jeffrey Bourke, 31, who is accused of stealing a Volkswagen Passat and other items from a Malvern East home days prior, allegedly became abusive.
Senior Constable James Nelson told the Wangaratta Magistrates' Court Bourke was seen driving the vehicle erratically on the Scotchman Creek Track on December 28.
"The accused was seen to drive the Passat up the track and out of sight before returning to the camping area, on foot and without shoes," he said.
"He became abusive and threatening towards campers."
Bourke was still in the area in the morning, "rambling" and "complaining about his sore feet", so one camper drove him to Porepunkah.
In Porepunkah, police were called about an apparently drug-affected Bourke and he was taken to Wangaratta hospital, where they attended later to arrest him on charges including theft and committing offences while on bail.
The court heard police opposed bail as Bourke was on a community corrections order "for a very serious assault".
Defence lawyer Manny Nicolosi said that order dated back to 2016.
"I know he's got a semi-significant history but there's no burglary history at all," he said.
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"He saw a general practitioner in September of 2021 with the view of going on a mental health care plan and was told there was a three month waiting list for that."
Magistrate David Faram said Bourke would not benefit from being detained in custody and granted him bail to return to court on February 14.
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