A BURGLAR who led the police air wing on a high-speed chase around Bendigo has been jailed for a year.
Christopher Johnston, 31, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving and burglary offences.
The court heard on June 10 this year, Johnston went to a residential property in Lockwood South.
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The 31-year-old broke into a fence before smashing a window to enter a storage shed. He stole items including power tools, a Kawasaki dirt bike, and a generator.
He loaded the stolen items into a van before breaking into the locked garage and smashing a window near the property's front door.
The owner of the house, who was inside at the time, heard the smashing and turned on lights as they came downstairs.
Johnston saw the lights turn on and fled the scene in the van. The total value of the stolen items was $15,000.
The court heard on the afternoon of September 16, police saw Johnston driving a silver Volkswagen Golf with no registration plates along Howard Street in Epsom.
The officers, who were in an unmarked vehicle, followed Johnston as he turned onto the Midland Highway and then Ironstone Road.
The court heard Johnston was speeding and swerving onto the wrong side of the road throughout the pursuit.
Johnston continued to evade police as he travelled at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone along Station Street. The police air wing was called as the 31-year-old sped towards Golden Square.
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Police tried to stop Johnston again but he continued to avoid them, swerving onto the wrong side of the road at Ham Street.
At one point he drove into an embankment but he was able to regain control and keep driving.
Officers pulled out of the chase but the air wing continued to monitor Johnston as he drove towards Belle Vue Road.
Police eventually arrested Johnston after setting up stop sticks in Golden Square. Officers found a ziplock bag with one gram of cannabis inside his vehicle.
Johnston admitted to driving dangerously, telling police he panicked when he saw officers because he did not have a licence.
Defence lawyer Amanda Hurst told the court Johnston had spent a significant amount of time in jail over the years after succumbing to a "dreadful" ice and cannabis addiction.
Ms Hurst said Johnston was only released from custody in March after he was sentenced in the County Court to a community corrections order.
The defence lawyer said it was conceded Johnston was driving like an "absolute idiot" during the September offending but the court should consider another corrections order rather than jail.
Ms Hurst said Johnston was at risk of being institutionalised if he received a further prison sentence.
Magistrate Russell Kelly said the range of offences showed a "high level of criminality". Mr Kelly said the only appropriate sentence was jail.
Johnston was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison, with a non-parole period of six months. His 67 days of pre-sentence detention were reckoned as already served.
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