Man pleads guilty to handling goods after tradie’s trailer found

A BALLARAT ice user appeared in court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the recent theft of a Ballarat tradesman’s trailer, which contained $10,000 in tools. 

The local tradesman was forced to stop work after the trailer and its contents were stolen from his Ballarat home on July 17. 

Damien Birthisle, 24, was arrested last week at an Ararat property where police found  goods thought to have been stolen in a number of shed burglaries from rural properties in recent weeks. The items included the trailer. 

Birthisle pleaded guilty in Ballarat Magistrates Court to charges including handling stolen goods, theft, possessing a drug of dependence and using a carriage service to menace. The court heard Birthisle had not been charged with the burglary of the trailer and its contents, just receiving the stolen goods. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Pepe Brown said a police investigation led to Birthisle after he began advertising goods using a Facebook buy and sell page. 

The court heard police searched an Ararat property on July 23 where Birthisle had been living after being evicted from his Ballarat address. 

A lawyer for Birthisle told the court her client had had nothing to do with the theft of the trailer, adding Birthisle had recently had trouble holding down a job in Ballarat due to his escalating ice addiction.  The court heard Birthisle had been using ice for about two years and that the offending stemmed from his habit. 

The lawyer asked magistrate Clive Alsop to consider a community corrections order for her client, adding Birthisle needed the “therapeutic” aspects of such a sentence. 

“He clearly has some drug issues,” she said. 

Mr Alsop agreed and ordered Birthisle be assessed for a community corrections order on Tuesday.

Birthisle was bailed to live with his mother. He will reappear in court on Tuesday for sentencing.