Andrew Francis Hinchliffe pleaded guilty at Townsville Magistrates Court to stealing and entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence.
Andrew Francis Hinchliffe pleaded guilty at Townsville Magistrates Court to stealing and entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence.

Gun thief: ‘I stole because I was hungry’

A MAGISTRATE has dismissed a burglar's excuse for stealing guns as "laughable" after the man said he stole because he was hungry.

Andrew Francis Hinchliffe was arrested in October after stealing several weapons and an all-terrain vehicle from a rural property outside Townsville.

Hinchliffe, 28, pleaded guilty at Townsville Magistrates Court to stealing and entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence.

Defence lawyer Ralph Lake said his client was homeless at the time of the burglary.

"He was homeless and hungry," Mr Lake said. "He saw it as an easy opportunity to attain food and money.

"He wants to return to work for a previous employer, picking fruit in Devonport, Tasmania."

However, noting the stolen guns have not been relocated, Magistrate Peter Smid found the excuse not credible.

"The submission you made to your solicitor that you offended because you were hungry seems quite laughable," Mr Smid said.

"If you were hungry you would have gone to a butcher shop or a bakery."

Hinchliffe had only moved to the Townsville area in July after breaking up with his long-term partner and relocating from NSW, where he has a lengthy criminal history.

The court heard Hinchliffe had previously served terms of imprisonment for offences of dishonesty and violence.

Mr Lake submitted that a prison sentence of four months to be suspended after two would be appropriate, while the prosecution sought a sentence between six and nine months' jail.

However, Magistrate Smid felt Hinchliffe's offending warranted a harsher sentence.

Hinchliffe was sentenced to 12 months' jail.

Taking into account his pre-sentence custody, he will be paroled on February 26.