Up creek in leaky boat

COOLOOLA Cove teenager Joel Lachlan Frizell and two mates stole a dinghy to get home from Rainbow Beach in April.

It needed a motor, so they took one from a boat at a nearby campsite and attached it, however, petrol was running low.

Frizell, 17, and his friends, aged 17 and 16, called in to Tin Can Bay Marina and replaced the fuel tank with one from a dinghy moored there.

Along their way home from there, they stopped to raid a few crab pots and ended up with a stash of four mud crabs and two sand crabs.

But their game was up when the stolen 14-foot aluminium dinghy got stuck on a sandbank up Muddy Creek in Cooloola Cove. Police officers said swearing and revving of the motor could be heard from miles away.

Frizell was given a $300 on-the-spot fine for underage drinking and was charged with obstruct police because he resisted arrest.

Both 17-year-olds were charged with four counts of stealing and unlawful use of a vessel to commit an indictable offence and Frizell was dealt with in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday.

Frizell’s solicitor Ripley Perkins said although the offences were “wrong and dangerous” the youths were “actually quite clever to assemble a vessel” to get home.

He said he hoped his client’s ingenuity would put him in good stead for the rest of his life.

“My client stole a dinghy, which was the last thing from ship-shape ... he got the motor to power it and the fuel (and ended) up the creek in a leaky boat.”

Mr Perkins said his client had never been arrested before and Frizell obstructed police because he had been drinking and the arrest was a “shock to his system”.

Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said she hoped these offences were a blip on his life journey and placed Frizell, of Mayflower Avenue, on a good behaviour bond for 12 months and ordered him to complete 60 hours of community service and pay $22 for the stolen petrol. The crabs were released back into the creek alive.

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