A Port Kembla red P-plater with a propensity to pinch petrol has been exposed after the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to a raft of charges in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.

Sharni Leigh Mortensen, a mother-of-two, entered pleas of guilty to 10 counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception, two counts of driving while suspended and two counts of failing to appear in court.

The stealing spree occurred over the five-month period between December last year and April with the offences taking place across the Illawarra, in the Southern Highlands and as far north as the Mid North Coast.

The Woolworths service station in Bulli was the scene of the first petrol pilfering when on the afternoon of Friday, December 17, 2021, Mortensen filled her grey 2006 Holden Commodore with $100 worth of fuel before nicking off.

CCTV was handed over to police and five days later Mortensen was pulled over as she was leaving a petrol station in Russell Vale at around 1pm.

She told officers “she was under investigation for fraud”, admitted to failing to pay for the petrol in Bulli and signed a form of demand.

However, just an hour later Mortensen was at it again, stealing $70 of petrol from the Mobil service station in Appin – the theft caught on security cameras and handed over to the police.

Three weeks later, Mortensen was captured again on CCTV stealing $113 in fuel from Enhance in Port Kembla.

There was a lull in the woman‘s petrol poaching before she was caught on CCTV stealing from five different petrol stations in March.

On Friday, March 4, Mortensen stole $110 worth of fuel from Caltex in Narellan and four days later she took the same amount from Ampol in Unanderra.

The Port Kembla Enhance petrol station was one of 10 targeted by Sharni Leigh Mortensen. Picture: Facebook

Three days after that Mortensen was 500km north in Port Macquarie where she knocked off $120 of fuel from a Mobil service station and the very next day she was back in the Illawarra, stealing $113 in petrol from Caltex in West Wollongong.

Mortensen’s mad March concluded on Thursday the 17th when at the Petrol Petroleum in Fairy Meadow she drove off without paying for $103 in fuel.

Police spoke with Mortensen on two occasions in March where she admitted she was responsible for the crimes and told them, “I don’t have any money” and “Yeah sorry, I’m going through a tough period”.

On Sunday, April 17, Mortensen was at it again, pouring in $125 worth of V-Power 98 Unleaded from the Shell service station in Unanderra.

Mortensen, on the same day, was issued a three-month driving suspension by Campbelltown police for her repeated offending.

However, that didn’t deter her; she was seen stealing $40 worth of petrol from Coles Express in Wollongong just over a week later.

All up, Mortensen stole a total of $1004.05 in petrol.

On Saturday, April 30, Mortensen was pulled over by police in Goulburn where they asked about her most recent “fail to pay” which she admitted to, telling police she was expecting a court attendance notice.

At 11.50pm on Friday, May 6, Mortensen was pulled over by police in North Wollongong for a random breath test and she told them, “I know why you’ve stopped me, because I am suspended”.

Mortensen was due to attend court to face the plethora of charges in Campbelltown and Wollongong in May, however, on both occasions she failed to appear.

Mortensen fronted court on Tuesday where Magistrate Christopher McRobert adjourned sentencing until Tuesday, August 9, to allow her to attend the MERIT program.

Extracted in full from: Sharni Leigh Mortensen: ‘Tough’ times fuel mother’s petrol stealing spree | Daily Telegraph