Jail term for serial burglar

A HOMELESS man committed a series of break-ins to source food and alcohol and wash his clothes, a court heard yesterday.

Geoffrey Smith, who has no fixed address, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges, including a long list of thefts and burglaries.

The offences were committed in and around central Victoria earlier this year, before Smith was arrested by Castlemaine police near Maldon on August 6.

The court heard Smith’s crimes were on a “need not greed basis” and he even left a note at one house apologising for his actions.Senior Constable Mark Herman said Smith stole a car from a property on July 6, then drove around Ballarat and central Victoria for a few weeks.

Senior Constable Herman said Smith committed petrol drive-offs, stole a packet of cigarettes at the Tylden General Store and broke into homes.

He said Smith should not have been driving as he had his licence disqualified in 2011.

Defence counsel Kate Youngson said Smith was “homeless, penniless and an alcoholic” at the time of offending.

“He was taking no more than what was necessary,” she said.

“He would enter, eat food and do what he needed to do ... He took the motor vehicle simply as a form of accommodation – that’s why he took the bedding – and used it as a house.”

Ms Youngson said Smith had already served 57 days in custody and had a job waiting for him at a dairy farm in Tasmania.

“He’s really looking forward to that,” she said.

The court heard Smith had been going to travel to Tasmania, prior to the offending, but had run into some trouble.

“He had $600 in his pocket, met a girl at a bar and woke up on a beach without any money,” Ms Youngson said.

Smith was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment with a 10-month non-parole period.

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