Guilty plea on charity tin theft

POLICE have nabbed the Launceston thief who stole Bertie the Bargain Butcher's Examiner winter relief tin.

Codan James Viney, 24, of Launceston, pleaded guilty to a host of charges yesterday in the Launceston Magistrates Court.

Police prosecutor Kerryn Barwick said Viney stole the tin, containing $500, from the Mowbray butcher in September to buy drugs.

Viney also pleaded guilty to stealing a Toyota Hilux and using it in a bizarre burglary at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston.

The court heard Viney and two men drove into the hotel's basement looking to steal hydroponic equipment in January.

Instead one of the men loaded a water pump into the ute before a staff member interrupted.

The two passengers fled but Viney, unable to start the Hilux, was locked in after the worker shut the roller gate.

Police found two BP fuel cards in the ute that Viney had stolen from a mental health service at the Launceston General Hospital.

Viney told detectives he had been "up on ice" for three weeks.

On another occasion, Viney and another man stole a cash drawer and City Mission charity chocolate box from the Clarion Hotel.

Ms Barwick said the duo partially buried the cash drawer behind a church in Launceston where it was later found by police with the $200 still in it.

Adrian Hall said his client had a demonstrable drug problem which motivated his crimes.

"He is a young man with a very significant record and a very significant drug problem," Mr Hall said.

Magistrate Simon Brown adjourned sentencing until April23.