SWIPED: A Warwick woman stole mobile phone case by shoving it in her skirt.
SWIPED: A Warwick woman stole mobile phone case by shoving it in her skirt. Pexels

Thief racks up thousands in SPER debt, then steals again

A MAGISTRATE has refused to issue another fine to a Warwick woman who racked up a $9241 SPER debt by the age of 23.

Ainsley Lee fronted Warwick Magistrates Court this week, charged with stealing and possessing utensils or pipes.

Lee told the court she owed SPER a few grand and was paying off $50 a fortnight, but a search of her file revealed her debt was more than $9000 and she was paying off $30 every two weeks.

"She'll be flat out paying off that debt in this lifetime at that rate,” Magistrate Jason Schubert said.

Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan told the court Lee had been charged with stealing a $10 mobile phone case, which she shoved down her skirt in January.

Lawyer Sarah Campbell said Lee was on probation when the offence occurred but the seriousness of the crime was at the lower end of the scale.

A fine would be appropriate, Mrs Campbell said.

But Mr Schubert disagreed when he discovered the size of her existing debt, on top of her deteriorating compliance with probation.

"Here you are, three months after being placed on that (probation order) committing further like offences,” Mr Schubert said.

He said, based on her inability to do probation, the point at which jail was appropriate had been reached.

Lee was convicted and sentenced to 14 days' jail but was given one more chance and the sentence was suspended for six months.

Mr Schubert warned Lee it was her last chance and, if she committed further offences, she would likely face jail.

"The state is spending money on you getting better and you're electing not to utilise that,” he said.

"If you want to make a change, there are resources there to do it.”