A 33-YEAR OLD man with a SPER debt exceeding $17,000 faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court today, pleading guilty to stealing petrol twice in the last week.

The court heard on September 10, John Barry Santo stole $65.75 of fuel from a Caltex in Charters Towers.

When found by police on the Bruce Highway and questioned, he admitted to stealing the petrol because he had no money and was trying to get home to Brisbane.

The next day, Santo stole $64.96 of petrol, this time from a Puma in Marlborough.

The defendant was again found on the Bruce Highway and provided police with the same reason for stealing the petrol.

On both occasions, the repeat unlicensed driver, was driving on a SPER suspended licence.

Magistrate Michael O’Driscoll told the court he was wary of imposing a fine on Santo as he had an unpaid SPER debt exceeding $17,000.

Santo was ordered to a combined 160 hours of community service for the four offences to be completed in the next 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay back the sum of $64.96 and $65.75 for the stolen fuel with a three month driving disqualification for each count of unlicensed driving.

Convictions will be recorded.

Extracted from Central Telegraph.