Two men who stole more than $300,0000 from ATMs in a series of burglaries in small Ballarat region towns have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms.
Grant James Nalder, 35, and Martin John Locandro, 42, received the sentences at the County Court of Victoria on Thursday.
Nalder was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment with a minimum of four years and 10 months before being eligible for parole.
Locandro was sentenced to three years and nine months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and four months.
Both men, who were born in Ballarat, have already served 554 days of their sentence by pre-sentence detention.
The burglaries, which occurred between October 2018 and March 2019, caused massive physical and lasting emotional damage to the communities the men targeted.
The pair wore hoodies and balaclavas during the series of 10 overnight burglaries, thefts and attempted thefts, including an incident that destroyed the shopfront of the historic Clunes newsagency and left the tight-knit Avoca community devastated.
Nalder, who was involved in all 10 incidents, stole a total of $320,700 from a safe at Avoca Racecourse and Bendigo Bank ATMs at Beaufort and Lake Bolac.
Locandro was involved in eight of the incidents, including at Avoca and Lake Bolac, but not at Beaufort or Queenscliff.
In sentencing the men, Judge John Smallwood took into account the significant impact of the burglaries on the small town businesses.
He said the Clunes newsagency burglary caused a considerable financial impact to the town, with customers having to travel to Ballarat for months, while the Avoca Racecourse burglary caused enormous emotional stress and financial difficulties.
The judge said the burglaries showed how damaging these type of crimes could be to communities.
"The situation is obviously very serious offending, causing the application of general and specific deterrence as well as denunciation and appropriate punishment," Judge Smallwood said.
"It's a very difficult sentencing proposition. I have to take into account totality for each of you and in your case in particular Mr Nalder, I have to avoid what might be seen as a crushing sentence.
"Having taken those matters into account, and allowed material that's been placed before me, I still have to sentence you for the offending that occurred and it occurred over a significant period of time."
Judge Smallwood said he accepted the men's personal background, but this could not in any way excuse what was "calculated" and "premeditated" offending.
Nalder and Locandro pleaded guilty last Tuesday to more than 13 burglary and theft-related charges.
The judge described the charge of possessing a traffickable quantity of firearms, which Nalder pleaded guilty to, as a serious example of that offence.
He said Nalder did not have a lawful excuse for the 22 firearms, which were located in his garage.
If Nalder did not plead guilty, he would have received 10 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven years, according to the judge
Judge Smallwood said if Locandro would have been sentenced to six years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years if he did not plead guility.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.