Vehicles targeted in crime spree

A recidivist Oamaru offender has been caught targeting vehicles in a crime spree.

Justin Leigh Harney, 52, appeared in the Invercargill District Court after admitting a raft of charges.

The court heard that in October last year the defendant came across a stolen ute in Christchurch.

He put a different set of number plates over the originals before he and an acquaintance drove it to Oamaru.

About 4.40am on October 7, Harney and an associate drove the stolen vehicle to Coal Pit Rd quarry.

A police summary said they spent about an hour there searching through rubbish in a pit.

After putting some items from the pit into the ute, the pair left.

Hours later, Harney broke into a parked vehicle and attempted to start it by breaking the key barrel and steering locks.

The defendant was unable to start the vehicle so they towed it about 5km away and took $5000 worth of goods from inside.

The following evening Harney and an associate scaled a fence to enter a business in Redcastle Rd. They jemmied open the hatch of a truck trailer unit and removed strops worth $750.

On the morning of October 8, Harney managed to get the vehicle bogged in a paddock in Caledonian Rd.

Police arrived and the defendant returned the stolen ute.

Earlier, on July 16 last year, Harney sped down Ferry Rd, Christchurch and failed to realise traffic ahead of him had stopped.

He smashed into the back of a vehicle, causing damage to other cars.

A summary said the defendant ‘‘lingered for a short time’’ while a member of the public stood in front of his car.

Harney did not check on those involved in the crash.

He made himself known to police about 40 minutes after the crash and explained he was ‘‘panicked’’ and wanted to contact a friend first.

Judge David Ruth sentenced the defendant to 12 months’ intensive supervision.