'Crime wave' leads to jail

A MAGISTRATE described a man as “a bit of a crime wave” after he was caught drink-driving four times within an 11-month period, along with carrying out two burglaries and more than a dozen other driving offences.

James Mark Long, 24, was jailed for 15 months yesterday after he appeared in the dock of Ballarat Magistrates Court – where his mother and grandfather watched on in support.

In sentencing, magistrate Andrew McKenna told Long he needed to wake up to himself.

“In the end this sort of offending has got to stop,” he said.

“You’ve been a bit of a crime wave yourself, so pull your head in.

“Seriously, you’ve been on remand, that’s the easy part of jail. The hard part is Port Phillip (prison).”

Police prosecutor Acting Sergeant Ivan Blomeley read a summary of Long’s offending, which included 10 different briefs of evidence between April 2011 and July 2012.

The court heard that three times Long refused to be breath-tested after being pulled over by police, and blew 0.021 on another occasion.

One time he told police he didn’t want to do an evidentiary breath test – after already reading positive for alcohol in a preliminary test – because he “can’t be bothered”.

Another time he said he had “too much on my plate”, while on the third occasion he said he had to get home to his children.

Long also carried out two burglaries, including one at a York Street property, which he ransacked and stole a car from.

The other was at the Grandlee Adult Boutique in Wendouree with three others, where Long stole a cash till and cash, five bongs and four packs of tobacco. 

The haul was worth $455.

Defence lawyer Robert Thyssen said his client had been living elsewhere and behaving himself before the offending.

“He went off the rails obviously when he came back to Ballarat. The number of charges reflects that, as does his attitude to driving,” Mr Thyssen said.

“He was showing good prospects but then came back to Ballarat and started mixing with the wrong crowd.”

Long will serve a minimum term of eight months. He has already spent 31 days in custody.

Long pleaded guilty to 29 charges including three of refusing a breath test, one of drink-driving, three of unlicensed driving and four of disqualified driving.