'One off' crime ends career

A WOOLOOGA man ended a 20-year career by “borrowing” a slasher from his employer to use on his property during annual leave, Gympie Magistrates Court has heard.

Warren Richard Riddell, 39, had worked his way up to a respected position as supervisor for SEQ Water but “lost it all” when he took a slasher from the depot at McKillop Road, Montville, some time between May and June.

It wasn’t until another SEQ Water employee saw Riddell driving the type of tractor compatible with the slasher that he was caught out.

Police were informed and investigating officers visited Riddell’s property in October.

When asked about the stolen slasher, Riddell took officers down his paddock and showed them the slasher hidden underneath plastic and fencing materials. “First he said it was his then he admitted using a work vehicle and forklift to load it on to a trailer,” Gympie prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said.

Riddell said he had not planned to steal the slasher but noticed it had sat unused at the depot for 12 months.

“I had the intention to take it back... I had a slasher that died on me and I planned to use the slasher for a short period of time and put it back but the Queensland Police beat me to it,” Riddell said and added that he felt punished enough already.

“I was supervisor at the time. Now I’ve lost my job — a 20-year career in the water industry ended.”

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said the nature of the offence was serious because it was a breach of trust but acknowledged it was “a one off”. Riddell, of Wide Bay Highway, was ordered to do 40 hours of community service.

Gympie Times

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