A 42-year-old man whose yard became a drop-in centre for "colourful characters who dropped off property left, right and centre" pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of an estimated $30,000 worth of stolen property.
Heath Maxwell Lethborg now of Newnham was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury last week of five counts of receiving stolen property.
He pleaded guilty to possession of controlled drugs, unlawful possession of property and several driving and drug driving offences in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
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Lethborg is awaiting sentence by Justice Robert Pearce who told him he did not intend to sentence him to an actual jail term.
Police prosecutor Matt Hills told the court that police found drugs and stolen property when they searched his home and Killafaddy yard in 2018.
They found five glass pipes for smoking ice, several ziplock bags containing ice, ziplock bags of cannabis and a tray of numerous chemicals and 375 grams of a crystal substance.
Mr Hills read a lengthy list of stolen items to the court including a medical defibrillator stolen from the Rossarden fire station, an Iphone, an Avanti road bike, a roofing kit, a motorboat and trailer, outboard motor, a Suzuki four wheel motor bike, a Scot mountain bike and a bag with dive gear.
In an interview with police Mr Lethborg said he had swapped his Bronco worth $8000 for the trailer and motorboat worth $15-20,000.
He told police the chemicals were cutters for mixing with ice and some of the glass pipes weren't his.
Mr Hills said police had identified where a number of the stolen items were from including the $20,000 motorboat which was stolen from Exton in 2016.
Mr Lethborg told police he bought the outboard motor for $700 from a "chick who was a friend of Troy's".
Mr Hills said police had caught Mr Lethborg driving unlicensed five times between April 2019 and June 2020 including several times with illicit substances in his body.
Defence counsel Grant Tucker said Mr Lethborg had operated a business, Lethborg's Smallgoods, with up to 80 employees until 2017 at Killafaddy.
He had then leased a yard from the owners which became a drop-in centre for a number of well known characters who were not averse to running foul of the law.
"He has pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of some stolen property which these colourful characters brought to the yard or workshop," he said.
"Mr Lethborg would not say anything because of the possible repercussions."
He said he had tried to get out of the Killafaddy yard and briefly opened another at Mowbray but was trying to get out because the colourful characters turned on him.
"He found that if you lie down with dogs you sometimes get fleas," Mr Tucker said.
Mr Tucker said that during his Supreme Court trial evidence emerged that Mr Lethborg had at one stage $200,000 in his bank account which was now dissipated.
"It has been a fair fall from grace not assisted by his use of illicit substances," he said.
He said a $80,000 boat, on which Mr Lethborg had been living, at Seaport caught fire recently.
Magistrate Ken Stanton suggested that Mr Lethborg's persistent road offending would require a custodial sentence.
However, he deferred sentencing until after Lethborg was sentenced on Supreme Court matters on April 13.
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