A BUNGLING burglar who was outwitted by the elderly woman he tried to rob has been placed on probation for a year.
Allora man Darcy Ray Nixon-Smith this week pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing and wilful damage after his savvy victim caught him red-handed.
As reported in the Warwick Daily News in July, 69-year-old Nola Leeson was shocked to discover 29-year-old Nixon-Smith and another man burgling her Deuchar property on July 25.
The quick-thinking Mrs Leeson padlocked a gate to keep the miscreants from fleeing with the ill-gotten spoils that they had already loaded onto their waiting vehicles.
Among the items the men tried to steal were a 1000-gallon water tank, a 5000-gallon tank and various items taken from inside the home.
The Warwick Magistrates Court this week heard Nixon-Smith "panicked" when discovered by Mrs Leeson and smashed through the locked gate in an attempt to flee.
Defence lawyer Phillip Crook told the court his client initially approached the residence because he was concerned about the welfare of animals on the property.
Mr Crook added that his client conceded he returned to the property two days in a row, but did not call the RSPCA.
Magistrate Bevan Manthey told the Allora man burglary was very serious and Nixon-Smith had only narrowly avoided serving time behind bars.
"If there was someone in the house you would be doing actual time - there is no doubt about it," he said.
Mr Manthey ordered Nixon-Smith to complete 12 months probation and ordered he pay $617 in restitution.
This amount was to cover the damage to the gate and repairs to the two tanks.
The second man charged over the incident, Donald Robert Dexter Langhans, has had his matter adjourned to the Goondiwindi Magistrates Court on October 2.
The Lowood man's lawyer this week indicated this 23-year-old client intended to plead guilty.