A 39-year-old Bunbury man has narrowly avoided jail for a late night theft that caused about $20,000 damage. The Magistrate gave Paul Timothy Meanwell a second chance after learning he was the sole carer of his terminally ill father, but warned him further offending could put him behind bars. Meanwell was sentenced at Harvey Magistrates Court on June 12 on counts of unlawful trespass, stealing and criminal damage. The prosecution told the court that between 11pm on April 18 and 3.21am on April 19, Meanwell unlawfully trespassed on a limestone quarry owned by B. Versaci Pty Ltd in Myalup, entering the crushing plant in a truck. He made his way around the plant damaging the company’s property, including cutting hydraulic lines on machinery, rendering them inoperable, and causing an estimated $12,000 worth of damage. Meanwell then cut through a lock to gain entry to a plant room, stealing multiple items once inside, including two big industrial batteries, before leaving the property in his truck. The cost of the stolen items and damage is estimated at $8000. Meanwell also pleaded guilty to two unrelated charges of unlawful trespass and stealing in Bunbury on April 5, when he stole a fishing rod and chairs valued at $1000. When he later surrendered to police, he told them “I needed the money”. His defence lawyer told the court Meanwell was experiencing “severe financial hardship”, outlining he was the sole full-time carer of his father, who was suffering from a terminal form of cancer. The defence argued Meanwell had mental health issues which “need to be addressed” and “he is clearly in need of some sort of support”. Magistrate Michelle Harries said Meanwell’s charges were not “low-end” offending. “The damage that you do to members of the community who are hard working is (clearly) not something you were thinking of at the time,” she said. “In my view, these are serious offences. They occurred in circumstances where which were deliberate ... and caused significant damage”. Magistrate Harries told Meanwell he would likely end up in jail if he reoffended. He was handed seven months imprisonment suspended for six months and fined $500. Meanwell’s co-accused, Joshua Peter Leonard Riley, 34, has pleaded not guilty to his charges of unlawful trespass, criminal damage and stealing related to the incident, and remains on bail until his trial in August.