A Kennington woman who stole a rifle and a shotgun in thefts and burglaries in Eaglehawk will have to undertake an 18-month community corrections order and 150 hours of community work.
Melissa Sloan, 37, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo County Court on Friday to one charge of theft of a firearm, two charges of burglary and two charges of theft in relation to the offences in September 2016.
The court heard Sloan was walking with her dog on Church Street in the early hours of September 17, 2016, when she broke into a locked vehicle parked in a driveway.
From the vehicle she took a registered .22 rifle and 12-gauge shotgun, which were wrapped in a high-visibility jacket.
On the morning of September 18, Sloan entered an unlocked garden shed in Napier Street and stole a whipper-snipper.
She also stole from the shed of another Napier Street property a digital camera, the box of which was discovered in a neighbour’s bin with Sloan’s fingerprints on it.
One firearm was later recovered from a Kangaroo Flat address, while the other was found at a Golden Square property associated with drug activity.
The court heard Sloan was on bail at the time of the offending.
Sloan’s counsel Samantha Poulter submitted her client’s offending was at the lower end of the scale for these offences.
Ms Poulter told the court her client had since successfully completed a community corrections order.
Sloan was undertaking a community services education course, Ms Poulter said, with the ultimate intention of becoming a drug and alcohol counsellor.
She said Sloan had committed no further offending of a “dishonest nature” since 2016 and had made significant changes in her life.
Ms Poulter asked the court to consider assessing Sloan for a community corrections order.
Ms Hassan said she agreed with many of the points raised by Ms Poulter, but submitted it came down to the firearm theft and whether that crime warranted a custodial sentence in an effort to deter others from committing the same offence.
Judge Lisa Hannan ordered Sloan to undertake drug rehabilitation and programs to address re-offending while on the community corrections order, with time in treatment to count towards her community work hours.
Sloan was also fined $500 with conviction for the summary offence of committing offences while on bail, to which she had also pleaded guilty.
Last December, Sloan was sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court to eight months’ imprisonment and a community corrections order for crimes that included dishonesty offences.
She noted Sloan’s long history of offending and breaching court orders.
Judge Hannan suggested the offences for which she appeared in the County Court would, were it not for the firearms theft, have been dealt with at that same time.
She said if it were not for the sentence handed down last December, the complications with her pre-sentence detention and her efforts to engage in rehabilitation, Sloan would have faced prison.
“What stands between you and jail is absolute compliance,” Judge Hannan said.